Not a political statement like “of the people, for the people etc” rather a recipe for good business and a good life.
Save the planet, care for the environment, look after your employees, equality for women – all trendy issues now but which have been addressed by Quakers from when The Society of Friends was founded. Quakers upset other Christians by refusing to have any hierarchy (no priests, especially no bishops and no churches either) as they believed in a direct relationship with God and were early advocates of banning The Slave Trade. They did run the whaling business for a long while which you may recall from the film Moby Dick.
But prohibited from higher education, politics and the professions, many directed their talents to business, founding: Barclays Bank, Friends Provident, several chocolate manufacturers – J S Fry & Sons, Cadbury Rowntree and Terry, Lloyds Bank, Oxfam and of course Quaker Oats. Key factor in this is a reputation for honesty and fair dealing. For their employees, they had doctors in the workplace and libraries for study.
And with the above-mentioned chocolate manufacturers for example, they were among the the first to appreciate the value of brands. Many Quaker business owners have sold old out, most recently the Cadbury family who sold out to American food giant Kraft.
Simon Lawson, Chairman of 4th generation builders’ merchant Lawson’s is the main speaker at the 3Cs Community Marks and Clerk meeting. Quaker values obviously work with a healthy 7.4 per cent profit and a staff turnover rate one third of its contemporaries. Nice to hear staff spoken of as an asset rather than just an expense cw. 11 worst UK employers. Pride in their workplace is high at 90 per cent (John Lewis Partnership 70 per cent) with the difference between the highest and lowest paid at 10x while some FT-SE 100 companies have a difference of 232x!
After a university degree, working in the world of international paint and writing a 15,000 word dissertation on love and work where he concentrated on how Quaker values might be applied to current work practises, Simon joined the family firm helping it grow to £100 million turnover with 17 depots and 450 employees.
Simon enjoys cooking and 4x a year invites employees to his home where they select the food choices which are usually jerk chicken and carrot cake. Employees were shy when these events first started, but they have become a regular and enjoyable part of the calendar along with a Family Day and Children’s Christmas Party. Simon’s invitation to speak comes from meeting 3Cs Community organiser Colin Spiller at The Guild of Entrepreneurs.
After three months, employees join the pension scheme where they contribute 2 per cent of earnings while their employer contributes 5 per cent. After two years, employees join the Income Protection scheme which can pay 60 per cent of earnings for a maximum of 5 years. The advantage here is that an employee with a health condition can have income protection which might be too expensive or unobtainable if they they tried to buy it individually.
Simon’s philosophy is interesting, quoting:
Thomas Aquinas: There can be no joy in living without joy in work
St. Benedict: Humility
Martin Luther King: Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love
Leadership by making yourself vulnerable
And how NOT to live: The Book of Wilful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan
Next 3Cs Community meeting at NatWest 27th November, two pitches available contact Colin Spiller: firstname.lastname@example.org