In times of collective crisis, you see what an organization and its people are truly made of. Forget ‘company culture’; tough times lay bare the very soul of an organization, and how it responds to hardship reflects the values, priorities, and ideals of its leaders and employees.
In recent months as the country and the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses have faded into the background, protecting only their “bottom lines,” while others, like Sales Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), have heeded the call to service by rapidly transforming its day-to-day operations to respond to this unprecedented global crisis with compassion, inspiration, and giving, even amid widespread furloughs and market disruptions.
In March as the global economy came to an abrupt halt, SPI, the number-one ranked national field sales organization in the US operating with nearly 200 employees in 47 states, launched a company-wide volunteering initiative called “SPI Gives,” encouraging all healthy team members to donate their time, efforts, talents, or items to those in need.
Like many other employees across the country, particularly those whose business depends on face-to-face interactions, the majority of SPI’s field sales representatives have been on extended furlough since March, yet the SPI leadership team saw this “pause” in business operations as an opportunity to engage and inspire employees to give back and support those most vulnerable members of their local communities.
SPI’s Founder and CEO, Fred Kessler, describes how and why SPI Gives was created:
“We had a choice. As the epidemic hit, we lost the ability to engage in field sales face-to- face. Most of those same businesses aren’t responsive by phone – limiting the productive work we could do during the shelter in place and shut downs of non-essential businesses. With 140 field staff in limbo, we chose to ask them to go back into the field to help their communities with SPI footing the bill. It lets us make a difference in our communities while keeping our team engaged (and employed).”
Since launching SPI Gives, over 130 employees (70% of SPI’s staff) have volunteered thousands of hours in their local communities, and the organization recorded a total of over 1,094 “days”the employees spent giving back. Tens of thousands of families and nonprofit organizations have benefited from this initiative — in March alone, SPI’s team delivered food to more than 10,000 families across 30 states — and SPI employees have engaged in a variety of charitable activities.
From working with large nonprofits like the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Volunteers or of America, or 7 Cups to helping out a neighbor or donating to local organizations, businesses, and churches, SPI’s employees have logged thousands of hours across the US during the crisis doing things like donating blood, feeding the needy, delivering groceries to the elderly, making masks, serving frontline healthcare workers, running errands for people in quarantine, tutoring students online, serving student lunches, donating to food banks, supporting struggling small businesses, volunteering with local law enforcement, doing yard work for elderly neighbors, working at animal shelters, working in community gardens, doing community clean-ups, and many other activities.
Kessler explains what this wide-spread giving back has meant to the organization, and he hopes that this will serve as a model for other companies to mobilize their workforce and rise to the call of service in difficult times:
“We knew we had a responsibility to help others. What was surprising was how much doing this brought our teams together. We had to encourage people to start this at first but it quickly caught fire and moved to being led by the field teams rather than corporate. We all feel somewhat helpless in the face of a global disaster – this allowed us to be empowered to make a difference.”
Sales Partnerships encourages other companies to volunteer their personnel to help worthy causes.
Sales Partnerships is the most-awarded sales and marketing outsourcing organization in North America. As a turn-key sales solution for our clients, we build, train, and manage the teams using SPI’s award-winning systems and close deals under our clients’ brands. Founded in 1997, SPI has earned recognitions for innovation in sales solutions and technologies to optimize sales performance. That relentless focus allows SPI to deploy nationwide teams in weeks while successfully beating quotas that our clients need (with the industry’s highest quality control ratings). For more information, visit https://www.salespartnerships.com
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