News & Events

Scheduling for 'Real Life'

img_0208_640x427_0.jpgManchester firm reaps benefits of flexibility

By Edie Allard, New Hampshire Business Review
Published: July 14, 2015

The average employee schedule at Image 4, a Manchester company specializing in the design and installation of branded spaces, may look a little unusual.

One employee, recovering from an operation, is working from home with a portable system purchased for her. The accountant works from home two days a week to take care of his dogs. The project manager is stepping out early to attend his child’s concert, but he came in at 6 a.m. to get ahead on his project. A medical appointment could cause an employee to come in late, but he may decide to stay even later to finish his work.

This flexibility is the product of Image 4’s alternative scheduling system, developed in the early 1990s and still proving its effectiveness today. CEO Jeff Baker says the “flex schedule” environment was developed when the company realized that it would lose good employees if it didn’t adapt to their everyday needs.

“It kind of forced us to change our thinking about the work [they] did and how we were managing it,” he said.

At Image 4, there is no adhesion to the typical, rigid work schedule. Employees have the ability to form their work week based on their own personal necessities.

The key to a successful transition to flex scheduling is to change from what Baker calls “task-oriented” management to “outcome-oriented” management.

Using outcome-oriented metrics, an employee is given only a project and a deadline, but no details about how the deadline should be met. This makes people feel empowered, allowing them to take control of their work life and their workflow.

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Authenticity is Key to Engagement

johnrooks_lohas.jpg

Concord, NH, March 11, 2015:  As companies pick clean the low hanging fruit of sustainability, they must look deep into the corners of their operations and to their employees for new areas of opportunity. Today, we call this Engagement. This level of company commitment can help companies that are new to implementing sustainability strategies leap frog their efforts while it can work to amplify and solidify the efforts of companies that might consider themselves veterans.

New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Spring Conference on May 4th will feature two experts on engagement, helping attendees develop effective strategies for engaging stakeholders in their sustainability efforts, wherever they land on the spectrum of implementation.  Keynote speaker, John Rooks, President of The SOAP Group in Portland, Maine will expose trends and case studies for Employee, Supply Chain and Stakeholder Engagement.  Attendees will learn how to design and execute authentic engagement at your company through a practical discussion of specific projects at large and small companies.  (Photo: Michael Signorella at LOHAS)

After a day filled with actionable ideas and engaging discussion on a wide range of sustainability topics, attendees will learn how to make sustainability resonate within their own environment with strategies for engaging employees across generations, gender and culture.  Using generational differences as the main focus, Tammy Jordan, Vice President for Consulting at The Employee Engagement Group, will explain why the Golden Rule (treat others as you want to be treated) is becoming irrelevant in employee engagement strategies.  She will explain how and why it’s being replaced by The Platinum Rule (treat others as they want to be treated).  She will show why using more customized gender, culture and generationally-appropriate engagement approaches will generate more positive outcomes. This, in concert with having alignment between your business mission and sustainability mission are paramount to achieving success.

NHBSR’s Conference, Think Bigger, Dig Deeper, will be held on Monday, May 4th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, New Hampshire.  For more information on the event or to register, visit www.nhbsr.org/conference.

Timberland Makes It More Convenient to Serve

In-house programs have helped increase the employee participation rate

By Melissa Proulx
timberland_serv-a-paloozs.jpgWhen it comes to giving back, Stratham-based Timberland Company decided that the best approach for its employees was to give them more time than motivation.

The outdoor clothing and footwear company has made it easier to bring their good citizenship to work while also allowing groups of 10 to 20 employees at a time participate in monthly service opportunities. This program is not restricted to just one location, but a global program for employees at all of its locations throughout the world.

“In the U.S., 75 percent of our employees reported serving at least one day in 2013,” said Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement. “It’s a relatively new thing that we’ve started making it more convenient for people to serve.”

In-house programs include “Knit for Needs,” through which employees knit hats for premature babies, and others involve setting aside times for employees to write letters to troops and packing care kits for families with newly adopted pets or with children in the hospital. There’s also “Victory Gardens” that grow fresh flowers and vegetables in front of Timberland’s entrance that can be used by employees and donated to New Hampshire Food Banks.

McIlwraith says the values of programs like these not only are good for employee morale and community goodwill, but also allow for leadership development.

“There are lots of opportunities for employees to step up and lead different projects that are happening,” she said. “We give them skills that are going to ensure they excel as leaders (of the programs projects), and professionally as well.”

And by inviting people outside of the company to help out as well, McIlwraith says Timberland is able to “proactively engage” business partners.

“It’s one thing to talk about what you do over a business lunch or in a showroom,” she said. “We find that when people we do business with have an experience of our values or actions, they have a different idea about the brand.”

Timberland has done its fair share of helping out the environment as well.

In 2007, the company set a goal to reduce by 50 percent its greenhouse gas emissions and source clean, renewable energy for 30 percent of its fuel by 2015. On July 10, the company announced it had achieved its goal two years early – by 2013, it had reduced emissions by 53 percent and now gets 31 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

There’s another benefit to the company’s social and environmental initiatives, says McIlwraith.

“Millennials in the workforce are looking for meaning in their work and looking for employers who have a broader purpose,” she said. “I think it’s important to bring the values of life to work.”

The “Just One Thing” Campaign is an 18-month effort of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility. Its purpose is to challenge businesses to consider incorporating a sustainability initiative into their operations. Companies can celebrate their achievements and inspire others by sharing their stories on the campaign’s webpage.

To submit your story or read others, visit nhbsr.org/jot.

Coca-Cola New England teaches a lesson in recycling

nhbr_logo_2008-rgb_0.jpgBy Melissa Proulx

When challenged to do just one thing to help out the environment, Coca Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England sought to show that local community that they weren’t going to pick just one.

Ray Dube, the sustainability manager for the franchise, has traveled all over New England for the last three years, speaking at schools and conferences about their local approach of making sure that their trash or waste becomes someone else’s treasure. The presentation is designed not only to inform the public about what the company is doing with their waste products, but to also inspire other businesses like theirs to adopt similar sustainability practices.

“When I talk about this in front of people, people are shocked,” Ray Dube, the sustainability manager for the New England franchise, said. “This blows their mind. Most people have no clue that this was done locally here.”

The company saves the plastic and paper products left over at the end of the day, donating it to manufacturing companies in the area, such as Foss Manufacturing in Hampton, NH and Polartec LLC in Hudson, NH. These companies will then harness the polyethylene terephthalate (more commonly referred to as PET) from the bottles and other plastic materials to make synthetic fibers that can be turned into fabrics, like the ones used to make the products for the North Face company.

“If we were landfilling all these materials, that’s an expense line.” said Ray Dube, the franchise’s sustainability manager. “What we have left at the end of the day has high value for someone to start their day with.”

Though the company has been asked by international companies for these recyclable waste products, they are “adamant about keeping it local”, according to Dube. He said that the farthest their waste goes is Pennsylvania, where their shrink wrap is sent to make Trex Decking, an increasingly popular  composite decking material.

Small changes in the business have also had a major environmentally friendly impact. For example, by using plastic trays to ship their products, Dube says the companies has saved an estimated 163,000 pounds of cardboard and 300,000 oak trees.

Though they do partner with their flagship company, Coca Cola Global, from time to time, Dube says that all the work the New England based company does is entirely on their own accord.

“We’re a franchise, we’re not the Coke company. When I talk about these numbers, this is what we’re doing,” he explained. “We work close together (with the global company) for a lot of different things, but at the end of the day, we do make our own decisions.”

“We were doing these kinds of things before ‘sustainability’ was even a buzz word, this was the kind of culture we’ve grown up in,” he said. “We’re always looking for ways to help out. In the end, it’s good for the bottom line.”

The “Just One Thing” Campaign is an 18 month effort put on by the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility. It’s purpose is to challenge businesses to consider incorporating a sustainability initiative into their operations. Companies can celebrate their achievements and inspire others by sharing their stories on the campaign’s webpage.

To submit your story or read others, go to www.nhbsr.org/jot.

NHBSR Member Northeast Delta Dental Honored with "When Work Works" Award

ndd_when_workworks.jpgThis prestigious award, part of the national When Work Works project administered by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), recognizes employers of all sizes and types in the New Hampshire region and across the country.

We are thrilled to be a three-time recipient of this award in recognition of our workplace practices, said Connie Roy-Czyzowski, Vice President of Human Resources at Northeast Delta Dental.  By offering flexible work schedules, employee assistance and fitness programs, we are helping our employees achieve their best.  When your employees feel good, they are happier and more invested in their work, enabling performance and productivity,” Roy-Czyzowski adds.  

The award is the result of a rigorous assessment. Worksites must first qualify in the top 20% of the country based on a nationally representative sample of employers. Two-thirds of the evaluation of applicants comes from an employee survey. Applicants are evaluated on six research-based ingredients of an effective workplace: opportunities for learning; a culture of trust; work-life fit; supervisor support for work success; autonomy; and satisfaction with earnings, benefits and opportunities for advancement — all factors associated with employee health, well-being, and engagement.

“These employers are making work work in innovative and inspiring ways and set an example for employers both nationally and internationally,” said Ellen Galinsky, president of Families and Work Institute.

“The When Work Works Award recognizes organizations that foster a culture of workplace flexibility and effectiveness, which gives them a competitive advantage. Their practices set them apart from other organizations,” said Lisa Horn, director of SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative.

For a list of winners check out this interactive map, which includes winning organizations by state: http://www.whenworkworks.org/be-effective/2014-when-work-works-award-winners-state-by-state

Northeast Delta Dental was recognized as a When Work Works recipient at a special event hosted by the YWCA New Hampshire in Manchester, New Hampshire on October 28.

When Work Works is a national project that shares research results on what makes an effective and flexible workplace with the business community.

For more information about the When Work Works initiative and the When Work Works Award (formerly known as the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility) visit www.whenworkworks.org

 

Giving Back to the Community the Hypertherm Way

By Melissa Proulx, NHBR Staff Reporter

With a mission to enrich the community, Hypertherm is working to make its global reach a local presence.

The industrial cutting solutions company, based in Hanover, allows associates to have a paid 24 hours that they can dedicate to volunteering wherever they choose each year. The program was established officially within the last decade, but has been in the company’s overall structure since its creation in 1968.

“It was started years ago by our founders,” said Stacey Chiocchio, Hypertherm’s corporate social responsibility project manager. “They have always been supportive of giving back to the community. Now that we’re associate-owned, we still continue to follow in those footsteps.”

With the choice of using one to eight hours at a time, associates are able to volunteer through the outlet of their choice. They can pick from a wide range of services, including skill-based volunteering, such as strategic planning, carpentry or maintenance work, which allows them to use many of their on-the-job skills. Others are able to leave the office behind them and volunteer by working with children, clearing trails or helping out at the local food pantry.

Chiocchio says that being able to pick not only a social or environmental project of the individual’s choice creates “wide variety,” which “is really the strength of the program,” as well as the inspiring challenge that it presents to associates who want to increase the amount of participation each year.

“On any given day, someone is somewhere doing volunteer work,” says Chiocchio, explaining that this approach often differs from other businesses that choose to volunteer primarily as a whole. “Some teams do it as team-building, so they go out and do it together.”

Hypertherm’s 1,300 associate are not only scattered throughout the United States, but around the globe, with locations in Germany, Italy and China.

“After seeing what we’ve done here in New Hampshire, people are choosing to participate and being active [in their own communities,]” says Chiocchio.

The company reports that nearly 80 percent of associates worldwide were participating in the program in 2012, a number that has been steadily maintained over the last couple of years. Chiocchio says that number is a little higher when looking at New Hampshire alone, estimating about 85 percent participation in total. These numbers both match and exceed the company’s goal of 80 percent participation each year.

“We’re very metric-orientated, throw a metric out there and people will want to meet it,” joked Chiocchio.

In the future, Chiocchio hopes to increase the amount of volunteer participation, saying that programs such as this lead to increased engagement at work as well, thus creating a healthier, happier work environment for employees.

“When we have new-hire orientation, we take people out and show them that this is what we do,” she said. “I think its been proven that associates that are more engaged are going to do better work. By doing good, we will do good.”

Click here to view the story on New Hampshire Business Review.

Sequoya Technologies Energetic Idea

sequoyaoffice_0.jpgBy Melissa Proulx, NHBR Staff Reporter

Sequoya Technologies Group is redirecting its energy toward sustainability in more ways than one.

The Peterborough-based IT services and software design firm has been taking the heat generated by its large server and redirecting it to other parts of the 2,200-square-foot office during the winter months.

By installing a simple system in the attic that includes an insulated vent pipe and fan, the heat is moved from the server room and pumped out into the front foyer of the office building. Though the company still needs to use propane heat, much less is needed – only $675 over a 12-month period.

“This is a very rudimentary design that just involved regular plumbing parts,” said Debra Strickland, co-owner and finance and HR director of the firm. “I don’t know if this system would scale up for companies with offices bigger than ours, but for us, it works fine. It works beautifully.”

According to Strickland, in total, the company was able to make back the $750 spent on the project within a matter of months – a speed that surprised them considering the size of Sequoya’s space.

The firm also has been experimenting with the fan and vent in the summer months.

“The AC unit in our server room is twice as efficient as the typical window unit,” Strickland said. “This summer, we’re experiment with using the system by piping the cold air out of the summer room. The jury’s still out on whether or not that works, though.”

Before installing the heating system, Strickland said, the company had already begun to work on a “human level outreach program.”

Called Sequoya Seeds, the pay-it-forward program allows the firm’s for-profit clients to donate a percentage of what they spend on Sequoya’s services to nonprofits of their choice to be redeemed for their Sequoya services.

Strickland said the firm is just “barely dipping our toes” into everything they could be doing to give back and is looking forward to designing employee community volunteering outings in the future.

“It’s hard to talk about your business without sounding like you’re bragging. But after making a donation [like with our Sequoya Seeds program], they’re happy to talk about you, for you,” she said. “Moreover, it’s just part of what it means to live in New Hampshire, where community values are so involved. It hits all the right buttons for us.”

Click here for story on New Hampshire Business Review

First Just One Thing Story Feature in NHBR!

NHBR will publish monthly Just One Thing feature stories based on sustainability stories you submit to our Just One Thing campaign.  The following is the first in a series.

Monadnock Paper brings a farm back to life

By Melissa Proulx
Published: 07.24.14

Nearly a decade ago, Monadnock Paper Mills made it its mission to help a local farm get the fresh start it deserved and rebuild from the ground up – literally. And it’s a project that still impacts the way the company runs today.

In 2005, the Wilson Farm’s land in Alstead was severely damaged due to flooding, making it impossible for crops to grow. The Bennington paper mill wilsonfarm.jpglearned the farm’s story after being contacted by Holderness-based Resource Management Inc., a company that specializes in matching consumers with recycled products. RMI sought Monadnock’s help in working with various state agencies to get the approval needed to move the Wilson Farm project forward.

“Because their property is located next to a designated river, there are certain restrictions to what they can use,” said Michelle Hamm, environmental programs manager for the paper mill.

Hamm and Shelagh Connelly, president of RMI, worked with the Department of Health and Human Services, the late Executive Councilor Ray Burton to combat concerns associated with amended soil reclamation. After looking into the specifics, it was found that a top soil known as Nutri-Soil, which is five parts sand, five parts short paper fiber, could be used on the Wilson property.

Hamm said Nutri-Soil “is high in nutrients” due to the short paper fibers, and that allows plants to thrive.

Though Monadnock and RMI had worked together to create the amended top soil previously, the work done with the Wilson Farm was a crucial way to show the state just how beneficial amended topsoils can be for farmers in similar situations.

Since this project, the paper mill has continued to do its fair share to help out with the environment – a sustainability initiative that has been a longtime focus of theirs.

“We have so many environmental projects, it’s ridiculous,” Hamm joked. “This is just a snapshot of one project.”

In the future, Hamm said the Mill will continue to stay involved and look for more projects to tackle.

“We’re a family-owned and -operated company, and we’ve also been strong community supporters. It’s just in our business’s nature to want to help out,” said Hamm. “Obviously, anything you can do to support the local community is a key part of a business model. But it’s also a feel good thing for us and helps up to build good relationships as well.”

The “Just One Thing” Campaign is an 18-month effort of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility. Its purpose is to challenge businesses to consider incorporating a sustainability initiative into its operations. Companies can celebrate their achievements and inspire others by sharing their stories on the campaign’s webpage. To submit your story or read others, go to www.nhbsr.org/jot.

Goldman Speech Highlights “Just One Day for Just One Thing” for Sustainable Business

Over 180 packed the ballroom at the Grappone Center on Monday to hear Honest Tea’s Seth Goldman’s startup story at New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR)’s annual conference.

Goldman’s multimedia presentation capped a day of innovative learning and networking for the state’s leading sustainable business organization.
Monday was also the launch of the organization’s new outreach campaign.  

Named, “Just One Thing,” the campaign will help businesses begin or advance their own sustainability efforts through the sharing of organizations’ stories of simple but achievable actions. 

Key highlights from the day included:

Keynote Speaker Seth Goldman 
Goldman, co-founder and “TeaEO” of the bestselling organic packaged tea company in the world, came to NH to tell the story of how his passion for social business helped build Honest Tea into $100m in annual sales and a high-profile acquisition by Coca Cola. seth_8865_2_1024x761_0_0.jpg
Goldman explained how his passion for a low calorie iced tea drink led him to overcome endless naysayers. He began his talk, and his hit book "Mission in a Bottle," with a beloved Chinese proverb: “Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the people doing it.” 
Goldman mixed humorous tales from the early days of Honest Tea with a vigorous defense of his partnership with Coca Cola, a company often criticized for its opposition to bottle bills and health initiatives in schools. 
Goldman detailed how key challenges with production and distribution made his sale to the world’s largest beverage distributor a huge opportunity to provide an alternative to high sugar drinks that previously dominated the market.  He also cited two NH business leaders, Jeff Schwartz of Timberland and Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield, as two key advisors during the early years of Honest Tea’s rise.

Cornerstone Award:
Jeff Baker receiving Cornerstone Award from Gov. Maggie Hassan. Governor Maggie Hassan was on hand to help present the annual Cornerstone Award to Manchester’s Jeff Baker of Image 4. 
Image 4’s President and CEO, Baker was recognized for his sustainability leadership in the brand marketing industry and contributions to local nonprofits. 
Governor Hassan also presented citations to Trish Taylor, Executive Chef at the Grappone Conference Center, and The Co-op Food Stores of New Hampshire and Vermont.
NHBSR’s Cornerstone Award is awarded annually to an individual, organization, or business that exemplifies the concepts of corporate social responsibility within their organization and promotes these concepts to the greater business community within New Hampshire.

Huddle Ups: Unusual Unsessions Led by Attendees
For the second year, NHBSR adapted the well-established “unconference” format to offer a unique range of participant-driven “Huddle Ups.”
Rather than a one-to-many lecture or panel, Huddle Ups allow attendees to propose ideas, topics, or questions for discussion. 
Conference attendees pre-chose eight topics via online voting, and added two additional topics on the “floor” of the conference. The ten topics discussed were: Convincing Your Peers that Sustainability is Profitable, How do I assess and address my business’ environmental impact?,
Sustainability for Small Businesses, Sustainable Investing, Can Your Business Go Zero Waste?, Recruiting/Supporting Talent for Sustainability, How Do We Create Shared Value in the NH Economy?, How to Market Your Sustainability, Young Professionals & Sustainability, Sustainability Metrics: How Do You Measure?

Power Panel
The day concluded with insights from sustainability leaders across the region’s leading industries.  
The panel included Tom Raffio, President and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental, George Mandragouras, CFO of Cirtronics, Todd Leach, Chancellor or the University System of New Hampshire, Jeff Baker, President and CEO of Image 4, Rauni Kew, PR and Green Team Manager, Inn by the Sea and George Parmenter, Sustainability Program Manager for Delhaize America, Hannaford parent company.
Panelists shared advice and sustainability trends businesses should be aware of and addressing. 
 

Honest Tea CEO to Keynote NHBSR Conference

by Madison Neveu, New Hampshire Business Review

The co-founder of the world’s largest organic bottled tea company will be speaking about his entrepreneurial experiences at a New Hampshire conference in May.

Seth Goldman, the co-founder and so-called “Tea-EO” of Bethesda, Md.-based Honest Tea, will be the keynote speaker for New Hampshire Business for Social Responsibility’s annual conference on May 12, at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.

In his keynote address, Goldman will share the story of how he co-founded and grew Honest Tea from a small-home based business into the world’s largest organic tea company in just over a decade. The company, which he co-founded with Barry Nalebuff, one of his professors at the Yale School of Management, had more than $100 million in sales in 2013 and is carried by more than 100,000 outlets nationwide.

Goldman will also address the changes and opportunities that Honest Tea faced when it was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2011, along with his best advice to mission-driven business leaders who are seeking profit, commitment to transparency and unconventional marketing techniques.

For the full story, visit NH Business Review

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