What makes for good company culture? Is it promises of work-life balance, free meals, and pet-friendly offices? At its core, does company culture come down to perks and benefits, or is it something more?
Ask Scott Carter, President of EmPower HR, and he’ll tell you that “culture is not something you can just put in place or put on a wall and it takes care of itself.” It’s an expression of human nature, the ability for employees to feel that they belong to something special and are truly appreciated for who they are.
And Scott knows his stuff. He’s been at the helm of several iterations of EmPower HR for over 25 years.
EmPower HR is a human resources outsourcing company that provides services in different functions such as payroll, employee benefits management, HR compliance, and strategic HR consulting. Spread over 400 clients with five to 500 employees each, EmPower serves over 20,000 employees throughout the Midwest—not to mention the 130 of their own employees that call EmPower home.
Driven to deliver what matters through authentic connections and relentless accountability, EmPower connects with small to midsized businesses in fields ranging from professional services like accounting, marketing, and legal services, to light manufacturing and even craft distilleries.
The Evolution of EmPower HR
EmPower’s holding company initially served large businesses across the country, but their shift to helping small to midsized business was an easy and natural choice.
“We were following our hearts,” Scott says. “My business partners and I are small business owners at heart and always have been. So we knew what it took. We knew that small business owners need a lot of help. So we thought it was a great opportunity to provide a service that could help people in similar positions as ourselves.
“The best part is serving people with whom we can relate. We can empathize with what they’re going through and establish trust where they can tell our team their pains, their worries, and their concerns.”
This personal and authentic connection leads to the kind of open and honest company culture that allows everyone to express themselves without holding back. Clients can feel it, and feel empowered by it, too.
Building Your Company Culture
If you’re a business leader, you might be wondering: how do you create a culture like that? An organization with perfect synergy might sound too good to be true. But it’s possible, and surprisingly, it requires doing less work, not more.
Achieving your best work comes down to one key principle: if someone else can perform a task better, faster, and at a lower cost than you can, give the task to them. The cost of hiring an outsourcing company will pay off in the long run.
“The biggest mistake I see, and that I made early on, was spending time on things that were holding me back from growing the business, and attracting great employees and great clients,” says Scott. “Get rid of the stuff that keeps you from focusing on what you do best. You can come up with the best products, the best services, and attract the best employees—get rid of that other stuff. That’s what we can do.”
It allows you to manage your time in a way that lets you put as much energy and passion toward that special element that only you can deliver.
Take, for example, a craft spirits distillery owner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that uses EmPower for HR tasks. It allows the business owner to focus on what he loves, which is making vodka, gin, and rum. That’s why he started the business in the first place—to follow his passion. And now that he doesn’t need to worry about administrative HR tasks that were draining his time and energy, he’s told Scott that the level of joy he gets from his career is so much higher than it was before working with EmPower.
And that joy spreads. Because after all, how can you expect every member of an organization to feel passionate about what they do if their leadership doesn’t truly feel it too?
At LifeWorking and the Community Innovation Collaborative business incubator, we work with entrepreneurs looking for guidance on everything from launching a product to building workplace culture. Scott has some advice for business leaders working on improving culture. There are three things he wants them to keep in mind.
First, he encourages everyone to embody the 1440 principle.
“There are 1,440 minutes in a day, and we believe in creating the absolute best interaction with every individual, every minute of every day … make every interaction with someone a great one. Make it authentic and impactful by treating everyone as if they’re the only one in that moment.”
Secondly, it’s important to remember that while there’s uncertainty in our circumstances that we call life, you have complete control over your response, regardless of the circumstances. This has a profound impact on the type of environment you create within your organization.
And finally, “being a business leader or an entrepreneur can be very lonely … it takes a lot of courage to start a business and lead a business. We are committed to being there right beside you as you go on that journey. Find the right partners and reduce the amount of loneliness.”
To learn more about EmPower HR and the ways they can help your organization free up time and foster joy, visit https://empowerhr.com/.