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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2020 / Vol 43 No 4


156 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK EARNEST MACHINE SHAKING UP THE STATUS QUO from page 120 Here’s a sampling of what they offer: Healthier – Flu clinic, ergonomic support, fresh and healthy office snacks, first aid training, 5K club. A runner himself, CEO Zehnder challenged the first group of 5Kers and then reimbursed them for their running shoes. Wealthier – One-on-one sessions with a Wells Fargo Financial Advisor had an 85% participation rate when first introduced; assistance opening a “Christmas Savings Account” with an added bonus from the company for enrolling. Wiser – The company supports and encourages learning outside of Earnest’s four walls through conferences, trade associations or other professional resources; personal and professional development courses are available through the Earnest Academy program. The Earnest Academy was strategically designed after polling employees about what they’d like to learn more about. “Earnest Academy is an opportunity for employees to broaden their skill set and grow both professionally and personally,” says Bastian. Offerings include courses in Earnest Product Knowledge, Leadership Development, CRM and Microsoft Online, and fun electives such as Drink Mixology, Using Social Media Tools, Photography and Meditation. It’s a variety employees appreciate. Next Level Employee Advocacy And there’s more. Earnest really walks the walk when it comes to employee advocacy. CFO Brian Mamich offers employees confidential, one-on-one meetings to discuss anything related to finances, such as student loans, mortgages, 401(k)s, taxes and budgeting. HR guru Bastian offers her resume building and interview coaching services to family members of employees who need them. CEO Zehnder says, “I want my employees to do their best work, and their best work comes when they know they have a place to turn to when they have tough questions regarding their finances, or their spouse or significant other has experienced a hardship with their own job. We want to help and we will continue to help long after that specific crisis is behind us.” That consistent drive to help employees in all aspects of their lives is a big part of what makes the culture at Earnest so special. Employees can also take advantage of several incentive and reimbursement programs which run the gamut from buying safety shoes to wellness programs to continuing education. Employees can even spend time in other departments and locations to learn more about the business. “We try to be role models for personal growth and professional development,” says Bastian. “The more opportunities for growth we provide, the better. Our employees are really our internal customers. The more we can do to support them in all aspects of their lives the better equipped they are to create the best possible customer experience.” Pushing the Boundaries of What’s Expected In the manufacturing industry — particularly for companies that have been around for more than a half a century — it’s easy to do things the way they’ve always been done. When it comes to culture, Earnest is breaking that mold. Zehnder often likens Earnest to Google and other companies not only known for being great places to work, but for having a decided competitive edge due to outstanding employee advocacy and engagement. Gallup reports that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their competitors by 147%. But Earnest doesn’t focus on their employees just because it makes good business sense. They do it because it’s the right thing to do. “Respect has always been the guidepost as to how to treat employees,” says Zehnder. “We feel that what we give, we get in return. We don’t consider these benefits, but simply treat people the way they deserve.” In a mature, industrial industry, Earnest is pushing the boundaries of what’s expected. They’re leading by example to push the industry forward — and show customers and industry peers alike how they too can use culture as a competitive advantage. Want to learn more about how you can use culture as a competitive advantage? Continue the conversation here:, Twitter @earnestmachine or on LinkedIn search Earnest Machine. EARNEST MACHINE


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