Where Profits and Employee Development are Intrinsically Linked
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Where Profits and Employee Development are Intrinsically Linked

Where Profits and Employee Development are Intrinsically Linked

“If you had hard times in your family, would you ever consider laying off one of your children?” asks Charlie Kim, founder & Co-CEO of Next Jump. Next Jump is an employee discount platform, used by more than 70 percent of the Fortune 1000 to help their employees save money. Next Jump also offers various apps and tools to measure and manage employee performance and organizational culture. And incredibly, they are a company that offers lifetime employment.

Bottom line, Next Jump is a company that places company culture and personal growth above everything else. They are known for their famous policy of employment for life (i.e., no firing for performance reasons). Founded in 1994 by Charlie Kim, Next Jump is headquartered in New York, and today the company employs more than 200 people with offices in Boston, San Francisco, and London.

Culture in a Deliberately Developmental Organization, Defined

In 2016, Next Jump was selected by Harvard Business Review to be one of only three Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs). DDOs are rare companies that have built their culture to support the development of all their people, every day. DDOs place a major emphasis on company culture, personal development as well as professional goals, self-organization, lifelong learning, and transparency. Companies like Next Jump understand that profits and employee development are intrinsically tied. The higher the expertise and engagement level of employees within the company, the higher the ratio of reliable profits.

Next Jump’s Culture Formula

Next Jump believes the way to become a better company is by employees working on themselves, and in turn, helping others to grow. At the heart of Next Jump’s culture and management philosophy is the following formula:

Better Me (improve yourself) + Better You (help others with what you learned) = Better Us

At Next Jump, it’s those employees improving the culture who reap the highest financial rewards. Next Jump was featured in the book Everyone’s Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization by Andy Fleming. As the book shared, “At Next Jump, you could be a revenue-generating god and still be penalized in compensation if you’re not working on personal growth. The biggest bonus and salary increase goes to those who improve the culture.”

A Business With No Brilliant Jerks Allowed

Next Jump doesn’t want to be a company of “brilliant jerks”. Their #1 hiring criterion is humility, as they believe that this is the most important predictor of personal growth. Coachability, responsibility, and the absence of a victim mentality are other key characteristics.

Next Jump has developed the Feedback Lab app, which allows every employee to give anonymous, public feedback to everyone else. “Just imagine what that does to transparency and open debate. True, in the corporate culture of most traditional organizations, it could be humiliating to be criticized publicly by your colleagues,” Kim shared in a blog featuring Next Jump. “And yes, you may have a troll who will badmouth everything you do. But the idea itself is fascinating because it puts the money where many companies’ (mouths are).”

Accountability is forced to unprecedented levels for all employees. In such an environment, criticizing someone higher on the ladder is now all but risk-free! Old school pep talks and cryptic instructions no longer fly when everyone across an entire organization–including senior-level employees–is open to public assessment.

No Firing for Performance Reasons

Next Jump introduced a No Firing Policy in 2012 – offering a commitment of lifetime employment for their employees – “The ultimate safety at work,” says Tarun Gidoomal, managing director at Next Jump. “Aside from increasing our hiring standards, this was a signal of intent for employees to show that you can expose vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and faults without the fear of losing your job.” Such powerful words. This employment-for-life policy forces Next Jump to put even more effort into finding the right talent, as well as go to great lengths to support an employee when they struggle. When employees feel their employer has their back, any woe-is-me attitude tends to go out the window. And if that weren’t enough, when employees are treated with such empathy in their workplace, it naturally translates to the empathy they extend to customers, which tends to result in best-in-class customer service. Everyone wins.

Gidoomal claims that the company’s sales have increased by five times, over $2.5 billion annually, since launching the lifetime employment policy in 2012. They have also seen an impact of this business strategy on other metrics such as profitability and retention of leadership. The company’s example of a direct correlation between the achievement of personal goals and long-term professional success has the U.S. Air Force, the CIA, and many corporate companies studying Next Jump culture strategies.

John R. DiJulius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or info@thedijuliusgroup.com.

Published: October 31st, 2022

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