|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Not only does the CEO know most of his 350 employees on a first-name basis, he also has compensated them well, including giving some stock-ownership in the company. With an average salary for a production worker of $47,000 per year, the median family income in the little town where Jiffy mix is $72,266, which is $20,000 more per year than the median U.S. family income. While a Wall Street investor would want to lower this "unnecessary" labor expense, Holmes believes caring for his community and workers is what good business is all about.Holmes reminds me of the late Aaron Feuerstein, who continued to pay his employees after his PolarTec factory was destroyed by a fire. I wonder how long a society can survive when a rotating Board of Directors of the same guys keeps voting themselves and their hand-picked "leaders" huge pay packages while treating employees cheap pens to be discarded at the earliest opportunity.
When I commented on Holmes' decision not to sell off even part of his multi-million dollar company, he said "What would I do if I sold-out? Spend my life vacationing somewhere?!" The CEO of Jiffy has the right attitude. Our occupations, in balance with our relationships, give our lives meaning. To work a job just for money or to escape from community and family responsibilities is shallow at best. A visiting reporter from Fortune magazine described Jiffy mix as "a decidedly chipper workplace, with friendly employees who seem to be genuinely enjoying their jobs. They greet Holmes warmly, he appears to know virtually all of them by name, and none of it feels phony."
One of the saddest trends in American culture today is the growing disconnect between making money and producing value. Many of our best and brightest minds shuffle paper and money for financial institutions to earn big salaries, while the real creators of wealth — bakers, builders, farmers, inventors, teachers, designers, and doctors are loaded down by debt. Jiffy mix is a welcome trend-breaker. According to CEO Holmes, "Our staff puts more emphasis on internal and external relationships than we do on completing tasks. This is very different from most companies ... Our dedication to strong family business values, combined with real world professionalism has us uniquely situated for the 21st Century."