Dan Price is the go-to example for business done right. No doubt you’ve heard of the CEO made famous by going against the corporate grain, giving every employee a base annual salary of $70K, which—despite criticism—led to soaring profits (six years and counting).
So it’s probably no surprise that on Giving Tuesday, the business owner with a compassionate vision once again chose people over profit. Doesn’t make the idea any less genius though.
The Gravity Payments CEO announced on Twitter that every employee receives $500 dollars a year to donate to the nonprofit of their choice. With at least 200 employees, that is no small sum. But then again, Dan Price has made a name for himself pairing ambition with altruism.
We give every employee $500 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice every year.— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) November 30, 2021
Our employees are collectively way smarter than I ever could be as CEO. So instead of making top-down decisions on how to spend our money, we try to make bottom-up decisions.#GivingTuesday
His tweet also read:
“Our employees are collectively way smarter than I ever could be as CEO. So instead of making top-down decisions on how to spend our money, we try to make bottom-up decisions.”
Price came to the base wage of $70K idea after an agitated worker told him that entry-level salary was, to put it bluntly, a rip-off. After realizing that the employee was right, Price was inspired to make a change for good, literally. To make this happen, he would have to slash his nearly million dollar annual income by 90%.
The decision was met with heavy criticism, but how can you argue with tripled revenue and a doubled customer base? These were the reported companywide transformations posted to Twitter after only six years.
Even during the pandemic, when revenue dropped by 55%, employees were so loyal to Price that they voluntarily took pay cuts to make it through the tough time. Those employees were then paid back, even receiving raises after the company earned profits again.
Bottom line: Price continues to live by his mission to “invest in people,” and it just works.Since becoming the “CEO just trying to stand up for the underdog,” Price regularly tweets about injustices created by corporations, busting myths and making public call-outs.
Like this one, where Price pointed out that keeping stores open on Thanksgiving doesn’t actually help anyone. Least of all the workers forced to leave their families.
For the last two years, stores were closed on Thanksgiving and saw zero impact on their overall sales numbers.— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) November 29, 2021
So for decades they just forced low-wage workers to be away from their families for no reason.
And people wonder why workers are fed up.
Or when he gave some staggering numbers to show the ridiculousness of “idolizing the rich.”
One of the biggest myths of capitalism is that the rich are "job creators."— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) November 29, 2021
In the pandemic, billionaire wealth is up $2.1 trillion and the number of jobs is down 4.2 million.
The myth is so dangerous because it leads people to idolize the rich and give them whatever they want.
In regards to Price’s Giving Tuesday tweet, people were generally moved at how this empowered employees. Many people commented, “where can I apply?” Which is funny, yes, but also a testament to how (sadly) radical a move this is.
Business models that actually embody shared values are not only possible, they’re necessary. Though we are far from finishing, society has made major steps reevaluating work-life balance, living wages and fairer working conditions. This is in part because of people like Dan Price, true leaders who understand that power grows when it is shared.
Gravity Payments, Dan’s company, says on it’s website “we’re changing the way the industry operates. The world is taking notice.”
It certainly is. Hopefully the world not only takes notice, but follows the example as well.
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