On a snowy January day in 2001, Convergint Technologies was formed by Dan Moceri and Greg Lernihan in a basement. Sixteen years later, Convergint has grown into the second largest independent integrator in the world. Moceri credits much of this success to the importance of company culture at Convergint, of which corporate social responsibility and giving back to local communities are a central elements. In this guest post, Dan explains how these initiatives have fueled Convergint to become the company it is today.
When investors and business owners ask me how our company grew to become almost a billion-dollar company in 16 years, I point to our core Values and Beliefs which co-founder Greg Lernihan and I set when establishing the company in 2001.
Little did I know that our value of a culture of service: customers, colleagues and community come to life in such a way that today I credit our service to the community as one of the key factors in our success. When I talk with C-level executives and others at B2B firms, I’ve heard two things: that corporate social responsibility is for consumer-facing companies only, or that it’s too hard to get started. I’m here to tell you both of these concerns can be conquered.
After establishing the Values and Beliefs that became the foundation of our company, we moved on to implementing our vision. It was logical to hold a service day, and it was small. In June of 2002 with just 35 colleagues serving a handful of local organizations, we launched what would be known as our annual Convergint Social Responsibility Day.
From the customer standpoint, we weren’t just saying that we supported our community, we showed it. We worked in food banks, built shelves at shelters and installed donated security systems in schools and other facilities assisting the underserved.
We landscaped outside of senior living homes and cleaned kennels at pet sanctuaries. We helped where we were needed.
Today, more than 80% of global consumers agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues and 84% of Americans believe that businesses have a responsibility to bring social change. If getting out and interacting with your community isn’t a core value or belief, then it should be simply because it is good for business.
From an employee standpoint, we knew that our initial hires were like-minded in their service to their community. And they wanted to work for a company that felt the same.
Our numbers over the years have shown that our retention rate is 3% percent higher than comparable businesses, and our corporate social responsibility program is often cited as a major reason for potential colleagues’ initial interest in Convergint. Anecdotally, we’ve been told that our commitment to the community has been a major factor in sell-side acquisition due diligence, and we know it’s been a great unifier upon acquisition.
Just search employee engagement and social responsibility, and you will find compelling evidence that a corporate social responsibility program is one of the best ways to attract top talent.
An additional 74 percent say their job is more fulfilling when they make a positive social impact at work. Let’s not forget the millennial audience, with 76 percent considering social/environmental commitments when deciding where to work. That’s 7 out of 10 potential hires who won’t consider joining your firm without a corporate social responsibility program.
In a service-based organization like our own, we live and die by the service we provide, and we consider it our privilege and our responsibility to give back to the communities where we live and work. I hope you will join me in creating or expanding a corporate social responsibility program. Start small; you’ll see significant results.