Investing in the Public Good is Good for Employees and Investors
This post originally appeared on Nasdaq, a leading provider of exchange technology that helps users navigate global capital markets.
How does a family-run company grow from two employees to a Nasdaq-traded, $3.5 billion in revenue enterprise with more than 4,000 employees? I think it has a lot to do with hard work and creating a talented and engaged workforce.
My father, who started Hub Group with my mother, used to say, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” I would build on that to suggest that along with hard work, giving back to the community makes all the difference to our company's long-term success.
While there is no foolproof recipe to creating happy, engaged employees, countless articles and studies have shown that companies that provide employees with a higher sense of purpose also tend to provide investors with better returns. Those studies report that companies that strive for social and environmental responsibility are more likely to attract and retain staff.
According to a recent study of young adults ages 16-20, known as “Generation Z,” 59 percent said they'd rank working for a company that helps make the world a better place as important a consideration as salary.
That is a stark contrast from the world when I started here 42 years ago. As we welcome our next generation of employees, business leaders are realizing that giving back as a corporation is valuable to both employees and investors.
In 2015, Hub Group launched the Cause Container campaign, which features custom-painted, 53-foot intermodal containers that serve as mobile billboards to raise awareness and funds for our five charity partners. For every original photo taken of a Cause Container and posted publicly on social media with the hashtag #CauseContainer, we donate $100 to that partner.
As we enter year three, the containers have traveled more than 412,000 miles on the nation’s roads and rails, providing countless impressions and millions of dollars’ worth of free advertising for our causes and, ultimately, raising more than $150,000 for our nonprofit partners:
- Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, the top children’s hospital in Illinois and one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation;
- Bright Pink, which educates about breast and ovarian cancer prevention and early detection;
- Chicago Blackhawks Charities, the official charity of the Chicago Blackhawks, which focuses on health, wellness, education and housing for local families;
- Fisher House Foundation, which provides free housing to military, veterans and their families during times of medical crisis; and
- The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, which helps protect parks, connect people to them and engage the next generation of park supporters.
The charities selected have personal connections to our family and to our employees and fulfill our ambition to make the world a better place. An added benefit to the Cause Container campaign has been engaging our employees by supporting causes that matter to them.
At Hub Group, we have over 100 active military personnel and veterans. Providing support through Fisher House for families of men and women who have served our country is meaningful to both the guests of Fisher House and our employee volunteers.
Last year at our headquarters, employees partnered with our local Fisher House just 10 miles away to provide needed goods. This year, we plan to expand our efforts by hosting meals at the house for families and connecting each of our other 34 offices and terminals around the nation with its local Fisher House.
Our work has inspired others to act too, including employees of Nasdaq through the Nasdaq Cares program. Nasdaq employees in Lakewood, Colorado, and Chicago volunteered for their local Fisher Houses and helped with everything from housekeeping to baking to raising funds.
From November 13 to November 20, we held our second annual “Give Back Week” for Hub Group employees, where we introduced more ways to interact with our charity partners. To maintain momentum for the campaign year-round, we will be celebrating milestones important to our selected charities and employees via internal communication channels, events and social media.
In addition to our over 2,600 truck drivers literally “driving awareness” with the Cause Containers, the containers park at special events for Hub Group and our partners, like Take Your Child to Work Day, our speaker series called HUBtalks, industry events, and fundraising walks and runs.
One of our long-time employees wrote us recently, “I have worked for Hub Group for almost 12 years. Small peanuts for some folks here. With that said, I was very excited to see the partnership that Hub has established with such reputable organizations. It is rewarding and exciting to see the Cause Containers on the street and on the trains and know that I work for an organization that cares!”
Again, there is no foolproof recipe for employee engagement. However, I firmly believe that doing good for others and the communities our businesses serve is a step in the right direction with positive returns for all involved.