Businesses that “Do Good Unto Others” Have the Best Results
Do to others as you would have them do to you
When I had just released my first book; Jesus & Co, I received some interesting criticism. At one church I visited, the senior minister stated what I had done was wrong. He explained that mixing business and Jesus was sinful. Never one short for words, I tried valiantly to explain to him that the book was about the Golden Rule and that businesses that follow the Golden Rule are the best places to work. He politely said I see and quickly sent me on my way.
Well, now I have proof. There is a new category to measure a business’s commitment to environmental, social and governance. In other words how to measure how well a company treats others and the environment. It is called the ESG measure. In fact, the very best companies can now receive an award called The Seal Awards.
For years people thought that being nice to your customers, employees, shareholders and the environment was something you waved your hands at and delegated to someone deep in the Human Resources department to say you had an ESG program.
Well, that’s no longer true, companies that take this effort seriously are far outperforming their competitors. And results don’t lie, companies that are socially and environmentally responsible have stock prices that have risen ten percent higher over the last three years than those that don’t. Yes, ten percent higher! I recently told this to a business friend, who expected that I would say they were down. When I gave her the number, she exclaimed that’s amazing! While also asking, How can that be possible?
Actually, there are four practical and tangible reasons why doing good unto others and the environment is a great business model. Simple and easy reasons!
The first and simplest is that your costs are lower. Especially energy costs. The worst-performing stocks over the last three years are any that produce or move fossil fuels. Being environmentally friendly moves you to less expensive methods and away from fossil fuels. For instance, when I was at Yankee Candle to rid the environment of excess fragrance, instead of using a fossil fuel-based method, we actually used a Biomass diffuser. Sorry for the technical word, actually a Biomass diffuser is just a bunch of bugs who eat environmentally unfriendly emissions. Why did we do this? Because it was cheaper and better for the environment.
The second reason is that employee turnover is far less. Companies that treat the environment well, usually treat their employees well. And the statistics prove themselves out. Employees are happier at these companies. They stay longer and feel more committed to helping their company. And more experienced employees produce the best results. High turnover in any business destroys profits.
The third reason is that customers prefer and are more loyal to responsible companies. Companies like REI and L.L. Bean have extraordinarily high customer loyalty. One of the big reasons is they are both very environmentally and socially responsible. In general, these companies average almost ten percent higher sales than their competitors.
The fourth is that the millennials are now are a major economic force. They buy fifty percent of products and are forty percent of the workforce. The biggest issue with them is; you guessed it; environmental and social responsibility. They shop and work where they know that the business cares about the environment and people.
Jesus was right, when he said, Do to others as you would have them do to you. When I talk to business owners and they ask me, what’s the best way to improve business results. I always say; be positive and fair with customers and employees; be trustworthy and try to be your best all the time. While this statement isn’t nearly as concise as Jesus’s simple message, it makes the point. Personally, if I was a business owner, I wouldn’t work on any other business issue until you have happy customers and employees.
Too often I meet business people that are worried about the pennies and get caught up with schemes to get more. Sure being responsible with the pennies is good, but not at the expense of the dollars. The dollars are found in how your customers and customers view of the business.
So with all due respect to the clergy I meet, who don’t believe Jesus and business mix, and get very offended when I bring this up; they are wrong. Treating your business, customers, and employees the way Jesus would; is good for business and the world!
I know this next one is radical, but I think on Sundays more should be preached in the pulpit to help people for eight AM on Monday morning. Help people learn how to be better bosses and employees. After all, almost half of their waking hours are spent working!
It’s time we bring Christianity back into the business world and for business people to accept the values of Christianity. The Golden Rule is the best business strategy I know. Those who have figured this out are better off spiritually and financially.
Making money without environmental and social responsibility is nowhere as effective or profitable as those who use the Golden Rule. And I have the facts to prove it!
Listen to the Full Podcast – Businesses that “Do Good Unto Others”
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
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