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How to Make Money While Making Change

Sharon Ryan
As the CEO of Dasher, Inc., a woman-owned company that has super-sized our employees’ success as quickly as our bottom line, many people assume I run a nonprofit.

Not true.

In reality, I am a successful business owner who not only runs a powerhouse communication company working in shipping and mailing, field staff and call center; I am also helping the economically fragile. With the right business model, you can be a community servant and a successful capitalist, too.

Dasher’s secret lies in our business model, and it’s the main reason why a book I co-wrote with Cynthia Tolsma, The Talent Pool: How to Find and Keep Dedicated People While Making a Lasting Impact, became a best seller on Amazon.

When I acquired Dasher 10 years ago, after earning my MBA and years of work in health care and insurance, I realized that offering competitive wages and benefits is not nearly enough to attract and keep our employees.

Very simply, it’s not only about compensation. It’s about culture.

Employers must create a culture of trust and advance a clearly defined set of values that are not fluff. The organization should be wrapped around those principles and have clearly articulated values that guide the growth of your employees as well as your bottom line. You can do something meaningful and earn a meaningful profit.

Creating conditions for growth

Most of the “why” for Dasher’s success lies in the scientific definition of culture: “creating conditions conducive for growth.”  That definition embraces personal, professional and business growth.

It is the difference between merely showing up and feeling like you truly belong. No one wants to go to work every day when they think that nobody cares they are there. At Dasher, we care about every one of our 70 employees.

In January 2019, U.S. businesses hired at a rate of 3.9 percent, and lost workers at a rate of 7.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, That means for every 3 new hires, businesses lost 7 employees. Clearly, the nation’s companies are swimming upstream, fighting a net loss. The death blow to corporate success is employee turnover.

Retention begins with communicating a company’s core values. We teach and live by those values every day.

As a result, we retain a remarkable 90 percent of our employees, giving us a substantial financial advantage.

Let’s face it, workers don’t leave “companies;” they leave people.

Bringing the outside in

We all know that our internal and external struggles stay with us when we enter the work world.

Tragically, I have seen food servers who are themselves starving, and health care workers who are themselves without health insurance. A core part of Dasher’s culture is helping people move from economic fragility to stability.

At Dasher, we offer a variety of non-traditional benefits aimed at helping our workers put themselves on a financially sound footing. One example is our Starter Emergency Fund bank account, where we make the first deposit and work with them to save a $1,000 over a year.

Our team mates see that Dasher’s stated mission to help people live happier, healthier lives is not just lip service and, as a result, they feel respected and valued – and part of a team. That’s far different than a worker who doesn’t feel in control of their future and cannot provide for their family.

At Dasher, it is my goal to give team mates a job, and with that, self-pride, hope and dignity. In return, our team mates stay with us and allow our company to offer clients excellent service.

With the right company culture, you can do good while doing good.

 

Dasher is a data-driven, customer contact, services operation with a focus on communicating complex messages to diverse population. Specific capabilities include face-to-face communications provided by our field teams, customer engagement strategies provided by our call center and member engagement staff, and secure, complex variable mailing services provided by our production team. Dasher is an experienced minority woman disadvantaged business enterprise (MWDBE) with a bestselling book, “The Talent Pool” and is certified by AICPA with the SOC2SM Type2 data certification and validation.

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