Higher Power Automotive Ministries opened two and a half years ago with the sole goal of repairing cars for those in need—for free. This local nonprofit has grown tremendously since then and recently opened a for–profit auto shop, Fix It Forward.
Whenever someone takes their vehicle to Fix it Forward for repairs, the revenue generated is reallocated to Higher Power to provide services for people in need from 30 different service organizations in the Fargo–Moorhead area. Higher Power also fixes cars donated by local community members and then, “send[s] it out to somebody who it’ll make a big difference for,” said Matt Carlson, Higher Power and Fix It Forward president, in a recent KVRR local news article.
There are many ways both for-profit and nonprofit businesses can incorporate pay-it-forward programs into their organizations. For example, Southwest Airlines honors employees who have helped others do great work by presenting them with an “agent of the month” award. Dale Carnegie said, “People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.” Recognizing employees dedicated to helping colleagues sends a clear message to the awardee that they’re valued and appreciated, and serves as an example for other employees to follow.
ConocoPhillips, the oil and gas company, provides a knowledge platform on which employees pose and answer questions. Employees are more efficient because critical answers are more readily available, and camaraderie is reinforced as employees help each other by sharing information. Better yet, according to Baker and Bulkley, a company that researched large companies with programs that boost cooperation, ConocoPhillips has saved $100 million by tapping and sharing employees’ expert knowledge!
Pay it forward programs offer many benefits beyond financial rewards. Essentially, incorporating such a program is the application of Dale Carnegie’s 3rd Human Relations principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ because it’s basic human nature to want to do good. Employees often experience greater confidence, control and optimism, along with a sense of belonging—which positively impacts employee engagement levels. Engaged employees outperform the competition by as much as 202 percent, according to Gallup.
From a company perspective, businesses benefit overall, as there is typically an increase in morale, teamwork, collaboration, and loyalty. A formal pay-it-forward program can be one component of an organization’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. Consumers consistently reward companies based on their CSR activities not only by preferring to buy from them, but due to the resulting word of mouth advertising. In fact, in Cone Communications’ latest CSR study, 45 percent of respondents told friends or family about a company’s corporate responsibility efforts.
Bottom line—paying it forward pays off. If one of your organization’s goals is to increase employee engagement and retention rates, check out the courses offered by Dale Carnegie Training of North Dakota. Their outstanding faculty has been partnering with companies to create outside-the-box ways to win the hearts, and minds, of employees for decades.