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It pays to keep your workforce happy. Happy workers are more productive and engaged. They are also more likely to stay put, saving you money on recruitment and training.

Company culture plays a key role in workers' satisfaction. While some best practices transcend generations, the growing millennial workforce is driving well-documented changes in the workplace. Keith Byrd and Travis Burt, co-founders of Transportation Impact, a supply chain spend management firm, know this firsthand. Sixty-five percent of their employees are millennials.

Hire new types of talent

Transportation Impact, a five-time Inc. 5000 company, helps its clients reduce shipping costs through small package negotiation, freight negotiation, Real-Time live TMS, parcel post audit, freight audit, and freight pay services. Both Byrd and Burt worked at UPS for 20-plus years before launching their business. When they started their company in 2008, they thought their ideal hire would be a parcel industry veteran, someone with 15 to 20 years of experience with a big-name company--someone like themselves. But they soon realized that the best way to grow their business was by hiring diverse talent. Today, many of their top producers are millennials, says Byrd.

From the get-go, the founders intended to create a laid-back atmosphere that reflected their personalities. Transportation Impact's corporate headquarters is on the beach, in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. The office embraces those coastal vibes. As long as they are not meeting with clients, employees can wear shorts and flip-flops to work. In the summer, everyone leaves by noon on Friday but gets paid for the whole day. On the office's front lawn, you will find corn hole and horseshoes.

Keep the best--ditch the rest

The culture also reflects what the founders liked best about their previous employer. They admired how much UPS gave back to the communities it served, so they emulated that culture of giving. Transportation Impact recently unveiled a new philanthropic initiative, IMPACT1, in which it donates time, money, and services to charitable causes.

A third factor that shaped the company's culture is its people, particularly millennials. It took time to understand what makes this demographic tick, but by listening to their employees, Byrd and Burt learned what motivated them. "They care about the company, ethics, and integrity. They also value paid time-off, state-of-the art technology in the workplace, and flexible schedules," says Byrd.

Millennials also care about health and wellness. Transportation Impact has a gym and restaurant on the premises and regularly offers free massages onsite. Additionally, it runs friendly fitness competitions and pays for stand-up desks and other ergonomic items.

Make 'em happy

Flexibility in the workplace is increasingly important to workers of all ages. According to the 2017 Aflac Happiness Report, which summarizes the findings of a survey of small business employees about their workplace satisfaction, flexible scheduling is one of the top benefits of working for a small company.

"If you have to leave early one day to see your kid play soccer, there are no questions asked. We are not punching clocks," Byrd says.

Transportation Impact also encourages employees to attend trainings and conferences as needed. The leadership team involves everyone in big business decisions. This makes their employees feel valued and benefits the company, too. "When you have a challenge, if you bring three to four people into a conference room, get some pizza and beer, and say, 'We are going to whiteboard this thing out until we have a solution,' it is amazing what you will come up with," says Byrd. 'We are not making people feel like part of the solution. They are the solution."

Of course, money matters, too. Transportation Impact has a generous bonus program. Last year, it surprised its team with an additional cash bonus on top of their year-end performance bonus. It also offers a competitive benefits plan, which includes 401K matching, discretionary profit-sharing, a cash balance plan, and a comprehensive health benefits package that includes medical, vision, dental, and cancer, accident, and short-term disability Aflac* insurance, with riders.

"Aflac supplementary insurance provides our employees an extra financial cushion in the event of an illness or accident," says Byrd. He notes his team especially appreciates Aflac's commitment to paying claims quickly, specifically via its One Day Pay℠ program.

"It is all about investing in our people," explains Byrd. "We want them to be happy." And with good reason. A happy workforce is good for business.

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*Aflac coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.

Z171181

Exp 8/18

Published on: Sep 19, 2017