Kris Hochart of Red Wagon Properties surprises his team with a unique gift bringing holiday joyBookmark this
Leaders want their teams to be happy. Allowing employees to work remotely, incentivizing longevity with more paid vacation time, offering great insurance coverage — undoubtedly, these perks rank high on every staffer’s list.
But what about providing employees — with the chance to give? Could that make for a happier staff? Or maybe even a more inspired staff?
Kris Hochart, founder of Red Wagon Properties, says yes. At the beginning of November, he gathered his people at the conference table and brought new meaning to the words, “investment properties.” At the head of a conference table with them one morning, he plunked down about a dozen bundles of $500 in large bills. “I don’t want you to think, ‘Hey yeah. The company does this,’” he said to them, referring to Red Wagon Properties’ policy of contributing $5 to charities for every property they manage.
“My vision for this project is to give you, the team at Red Wagon, a taste for the visceral feeling of what it means to be a great steward of what God has entrusted us with. Not just to know we as a company are part of something greater — but for you, the team, to be part of something greater,” he told them. “After all, you are the company.”
He passed the money bundles, each worth $500, to each team member and challenged them to invest it and report.
“The staff has been so inspired by this project,” says Kris, “that many of them have extended their offer of support by signing up as volunteers with the causes they have contributed to, and many have made plans for future initiatives.”
One employee’s heart went out to premature babies. She wanted to make a difference for their parents who were battling the intense weeks at neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). She says, “We bought little red wagons and filled them with all kinds of stuff for these little NICU babies. The families have been there for days and weeks and even months.”
“I’ve gotten my family so involved,” says another, “that they’re wanting to do something like this every year.” This Red Wagon team member made time to go to some used clothing stores. There she chose some professional-looking ensembles, loaded them up in her car, and donated them to a Dress for Success organization.
Kris Hochart sees these efforts spilling over into each team member’s attitude and ultimately the company culture. He calls this not just a nudge but also a strategy to develop a culture of giving. According to Studyfinds.org, he’s on target with the latest findings regarding sustained joy.
In an experiment with almost 100 college students who had the freedom to spend a few dollars a day every day on whatever they wanted, says the report, “students who had spent money on themselves felt decreasingly happy over the five-day period. Conversely, participants who gave their money to someone else, however, continued to feel the same level of joy on the fifth day as they did on the first day.”
So far, that’s the trend Kris has seen at Red Wagon Properties. “The excitement and gratitude from the staff at being entrusted with such an important task has been resounding,” he says. “That’s what’s so beautiful about this. This was just the nudge that they needed. And we as leaders have got to teach people to be a good steward of their time, to be a good steward of their money and a good steward of their resources.” Outstanding job Kris and the team at Red Wagon Properties! The Beacon applauds your efforts.