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David Lee

February 9, 2017

Serious About Growing With Purpose? Put Your Money Where Your Values Are.

Five years ago, I started a journey. As an organization, we knew we wanted our work at Trendspot, Inc. to be driven by a larger mission. We decided to monetarily invest in living out our core values every single day, working to institutionalize the tenets to bring us closer to realizing our company vision. Over the last five years, we’ve worked hard to increase our commitment to our core values and vision at every level. Here’s what’s worked for us — and why I think it could work for your business, too.

Vision: We will drive innovation in product development, be passionate about making our customers happy, and love watching our employees grow and prosper both personally and professionally.

Core Values

  • Loyal & Happy Customers: Unselfishly exceeds expectations to meet customer needs by demonstrating integrity, empathy, professionalism, reliability, proaction and knowledge
  • Innovative Excellence: Leading with visionary ideas through continuous improvement, benchmarking/implementing best practices and being open to change
  • Engaged and Inspired Team: Elevates team members with passionate work ethic, sincere encouragement, and creating a future of ennobling and exciting opportunities
  • Thrive Together: Humbly shares a spirit of collaboration and respect, to build trust and to promote the greater good of the company
  • Celebrate Success: Gives credit to others by enthusiastically showing appreciation in a thoughtful and postive manner 

Pay your employees for their commitment to company core values.

Did you twitch a little at this idea? For some, it takes a little time to get behind. At Trendspot, we developed our core values and our vision to be a living, breathing thing. We believe in the mission we’ve crafted for ourselves, and we wanted to ensure those words didn’t just hang on an office wall. So, we encourage our members to memorize each of our six core values verbatim, and we compensate them when they do. For junior-level employees, each core value gets them $20. At the senior level, it’s $100 per core value.

In a sense, we believe in putting our money where our mouth is: we believe our core values are as important to company success as any other task employees may perform — so, we pay them. When an employee demonstrates commitment to our core values, I know they’re simultaneously achieving our ROCKS (priorities) for the quarter because we’ve baked our core values into our business plan. The two (profit and core values) are inseparable.

Employees rewarding employees.

At Trendspot, adding this layer has been crucial to team building and morale. We lay the foundation for success by compensating employees for knowing our core values. Then, we encourage them to live out our core values through our success sharing program. It’s a simple, but powerful idea: employees anonymously share stories of how their team members are demonstrating our core values in their daily work.

Employees fill out a form and submit their story via email. On a quarterly basis, we review submissions and team members vote anonymously on three winners through a simple, online poll on EasyPolls.net. Team members with a winning story are compensated: 1st place receives $500, 2nd place receives $200, third place receives $100. Without fail, our team members’ stories inspire me. Not only in the powerful ways they are living out our values on a day-to-day basis, but how much they appreciate when their team members do, too.

Our commitment to celebrating success exists on every level: individual, team-based, and company-wide. When team members recognize one another for their small contributions and daily commitment to advancing our mission, more people are recognized for their hard work and we build an engaged and inspired team.

Purpose-driven profit sharing.

One of our core values is to have an engaged, inspired team. Another is the belief that we thrive together, sharing a spirit of collaboration and respect. One of the many ways we cultivate that in daily operations is through our profit sharing program to align employees with company goals. This program is an incentive where a designated portion of "cash income" is available to employees and is paid according to an employee "profit share score." Profit share score is a rating system where an employee is evaluated based on their performance during the season. Our "Profit Share Pool" is the portion of cash income earned by the organization during the season (October to September) available to be shared with employees.

The "Profit Share Score" is the average score for a team member based partly on criterias set by their team leader and partly based on organizational goals (for example, adherence to our core values). The "Profit Share Payout" is calculated as Profit Share Pool allocated to team member multiplied by the Profit Share Score. Profit share information is published each quarter to allow team members to follow the performance of the company, calculate their potential payout, and to maximize transparency within our organization.

As we move into a new year, I’m proud to say that I’m much better off than I was 5 years ago — and so is Trendspot. I still have a ways to go, but I’m grateful for the personal and organizational changes we’ve made over the years. I look forward to continuing the journey with all of you inspired leaders who share the same mission! 


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About David Lee

David Lee is the President of Trendspot Inc. Their vision is to drive innovation in product development, be passionate about making their customers happy, and love watching their employees grow and prosper both personally and professionally.