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Want to Grow? Put People & Purpose on Par with Profit

How a focus on people and purpose landed Traction at 31st on this year’s PROFIT 500 list

PROFIT 500 Logo-2017-BLUE

Yesterday, Traction was named the 31st fastest growing company in Canada on the PROFIT 500 list, with revenue growth of 2,272% over the last five years. It’s always an honour to be recognized among the best and fastest growing companies in the country. It’s also humbling and inspiring to see the growth percentages of our customers, industry peers and other great organizations at the top of the list.

Whenever we look at a list like the PROFIT 500, we’re curious to know what factors contributed to other companies making the list. A new app or technology? An under-served market? Outside investment? What are these organizations doing differently from the thousands of other businesses that didn’t make the list?

Well, if you’re asking yourself the same questions, let us help by sharing insights into what has put Traction on that list. Rooted in values that have driven Traction from the very beginning, here are two areas we’ve invest in that have contributed directly to our revenue growth.

Bandit Tour 2016
Lynda and Sara work with the IWRC in Portland during the 2016 Bandit Tour.

We’ve invested in Purpose.

Traction was recently named one of the top workplaces in Canada for Millennials, who currently make up more than 37% of the Canadian workforce (projected to be >50% by 2020 source). Say what you will about this age group, the one thing we do know is Millennials want to contribute to purpose-driven organizations and those using business as a force for good.

With an average employee age of 33 and retention rate of 94%, Traction has been extremely successful at attracting and retaining Millennials. How? We’ve invested in purpose and built it into the fabric of our company.

We’re a certified B Corporation and were just named one of their Best for the World Honourees. We invest in social issues and causes that impact our communities now (The Traction Community Raises Over $27,000 to Sponsor a Family of Syrian Refugees) and will in the future (Building Capacity for Kids Code Jeunesse). We also work with and for purpose-driven organizations like Patagonia, Tesla and The Jane Goodall Institute, who are making a difference in their own right.

We invest in Purpose not only because we understand the financial impact it can have on our business but because it’s the right thing to do.

We’ve invested in People.

TractionForce 2016
Michelle and Emily sing it out on stage following TractionForce 2016.

A significant factor to sustaining that 94% retention rate mentioned above (in an industry with an average of 85%) is building a workplace that makes people want to come to work every morning (Traction has been a top ten workplace for the past four years).

Does that mean you should buy a ping pong table, bring puppies in for emotional support and give unlimited vacation? No (although the puppies sound pretty awesome). 

Does it mean that you should consider flexible work hours and spaces, knowing that productivity does not occur only between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm? Probably.

Does it mean you should provide greater transparency and openness with employees when it comes to decision-making? Yes.

Does it mean that you should reevaluate your hiring and employment process and policies to ensure equal opportunity for all? Absolutely.

As a services firm, our people are our most important asset (and we operate in an industry where software is automating manual processes). We recognize the crowded marketplace we operate in and that talented individuals are in high demand. For Traction, it’s those individuals that we rely on and trust to drive our growth and success. Why would we not do our best to ensure they’re happy and fulfilled?

TractionForce 2017
Greg Malpass speaks to attendees at TractionForce 2017.

Please don’t misinterpret this message.

Traction does not invest in purpose and people because it helps grow our revenue. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. And while we can’t tell you exactly what put these organizations on the PROFIT 500 list, we can tell you that you’d be crazy not to think culture and organizational purpose had something to do with it.

We are Salesforce consultants by trade, but community members by choice. We’d love to share more of our people practices with you, so get in touch.

“The business of business is improving the state of the world.” – Marc Benioff, Founder & CEO, Salesforce

P.S. Leading by example

Bandit Tour 2016
Peter kicks off the 2016 Bandit Tour in Vancouver with free bike tune-ups from Velofix.

Salesforce is another great example of a business who understands the value of Purpose and People. Earlier this year they reported revenue growth that has doubled in the past three years and have recently surpassed 28,000 employees globally. Salesforce’s philanthropic efforts, 1/1/1/ model and Ohana culture now dominate their marketing and recruitment strategies. But they know it’s not enough to just talk the talk; they need to put their money and organizational resources to work too, which they have.

About the PROFIT 500
For 29 years, the PROFIT 500 has been Canada’s most respectable and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Developed by PROFIT and now published in Maclean’s magazine and at CanadianBusiness.com, the PROFIT 500 ranks Canadian companies on five-year revenue growth. For more information on the ranking visit PROFIT500.com or CanadianBusiness.com.

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