Purpose beyond profit - Traci's interview with Institute B.
PURPOSE BEYOND PROFIT: TRACI COSTA ON THINKING OUTSIDE THE SANDBOX
posted on May 1st by Institute B
institute B tagged Traci Costa, Director of Play at Peekaboo Beans to find out how this young growing company, that hasn’t been able to pay market rates to date, maintains such an incredible culture of employee loyalty. Out of the 29 people hired within the organization since it’s inception, only 2 have ever left.
Peekaboo Beans is a company passionate about Play that designs and manufactures Playwear for Children on-the-grow. The inherent desire of children is to play and it has been proven to be more meaningful than most people imagine. Playing teaches us about boundaries, evolves our imagination, connects us socially, builds our bodies and expands our thinking. Peekaboo Beans is a stand for unstructured, free play so children can learn and grow into healthy human-beans.
institute B: What does a culture of generosity mean to you?
Traci Costa: It means treating people the way you would want to be treated. It means fostering happy people, by fulfilling life goals and believing in dreams. It means creating positive work environments, where change is embraced and goals are supported.
How would you define the company culture at Peekaboo Beans?
Peekaboo Beans is creating a new way to work, by blending life and work together, particularly for working mothers and families. We foster a completely flexible work environment, so “no one misses a field trip”. Our first core value is “Family First”. We have an environment where children can be brought to work and play in our oodles of Play Space. Where we can arrange for you have groceries delivered to your door. Work at your desk, while getting your hair done, or have an in house massage to help manage the stress of working and being a mama! My goal is to be a one-stop environment, focused on all things family. In house play-care (work and then have lunch with your wee ones), meal preparation, work out facilities, yoga on the go, dry-cleaning, whatever you need to make life easier! All while doing what you love and fuelling your passions.
How has this impacted your organization from a business perspective?
I work with highly skilled, motivated, self-starters, who are aligned with the Peekaboo Beans vision. These amazing people come in to work happy, positive and work hard and play hard. We have grown at rapid rates because we are all aligned with our vision to create possibilities for the future.
You stated you want to be a stand for creating the best working environments that fosters people, values, and gives back and is socially responsible. Why is this so important to you?
Because there is a new generation of working women. We still want the old school “stay at home mom” qualities that our parents had, yet we have fostered educations and careers before our children were born. It can be hard to change an organization that is already established, but we have the ability to be a grass roots brand that is a stand for the future and what working women (and families) need. I have two girls, I want this for them when they go out into the workforce and one day possibly have families of their own. I also believe that we need to support community because the world is only successful if we are impacting families other than our own.
It’s fair to say you don’t pay high wages, yet your employee retention rate is outstanding. How do you account for this?
We have been a young growing company, and haven’t had the ability to pay market rates to date. Our retention rate is high because we value people and treat people well and value our core values of “family first”. At the end of the day, money isn’t everything. People wanted to be valued for their contributions and be honored for their values and treated well.
Is there a relationship between branding and culture? Do elements of your culture extend to how you communicate your brand?
I believe that branding and culture are married. I believe this because when people talk about Peekaboo Beans, they are often not talking about our awesome product. They are talking about how we are helping build playgrounds in war torn countries such as Afghanistan, through our “Play it forward” campaign with our Partner, Playground Builders. Or how we have created the best work environment to help ground families. Or that we have created a tribe of passionate mothers and an entrepreneurial opportunity, selling Peekaboo Beans under our direct sales platform. Our product speaks for itself, and our sales have doubled every year, but it is also because our culture is what propels us into the future.
Finances and resources are tight for many entrepreneurs, especially if you’re a start up. Practically speaking, how can a young business afford to be generous?
Think outside the sandbox. Recognition is important and key. I may not have been able to pay someone a top wage, but I have the ability to send someone to the spa, or give them a little gift of thanks. Our work environment can be very “touchy feely”. Each of us has a secret admirer, and the requirement is to leave small tokens, or little gifts, and notes of appreciation (in secret). Who doesn’t want to get a little treat! We have recognition jars, that staff can write notes of acknowledgement to each other for hard work done, progress, or just to lift someone up, when they have something going on. We have theme days, where we dress up and do fun activities and yes – we have tea time every day at 2 (with cookies, of course). It doesn’t cost much, but makes for a great environment. We are always laughing and having fun and we support each other when times get tough or challenging. We allow everyone to have a voice. We have learned to bring all our “background conversations” to the table, be heard, move forward and progress. Everyone feels they have a voice and are supported in a safe environment of learning.
Can a business case (ROI) be made for companies thinking about adopting a culture of generosity?
My belief is that culture is created based on the values of the organization. We post our values throughout the office. When people are rooted by their values, your return on investment is a natural bi-product because your people are self motivated, guided and work hard. They get to fulfill their creative life passions, whether that be balancing a bank statement, designing a full collection, creating marketing initiatives or answering the phone in a fun playful way. It all matters. It all counts. It all makes a difference.
Click HERE to read the original post on Institute B and find out more about this organization.