The Surprising Secret to a Thriving Organization

By: Bethany Whitted


The surprising secret to a thriving organization is generosity. Generosity is powerful. When we experience it, we often feel inspired, grateful, happy, and have a sense of trust and loyalty to the giver. What does generosity look like at an organizational level? 

Generous organizations take a drastically different approach to investing in their people, delivering value to their customers/clients, and impacting the broader community. While from a business standpoint, “generosity” may not seem like a tool for success, it might just be the secret ingredient to a thriving organization.  

Investing in people. 

Generous organizations invest in their employees maximally to help them reach their full potential. They might offer things like gym memberships, tuition reimbursement, professional counseling, and unlimited PTO.  The alternative, and core common approach, is to invest in employees minimally, to the extent that they don’t leave the company or complain. If there is a heavy emphasis on cutting back expenses and maximizing profits, a company may feel a real pull to just “give enough” to keep employees. While employees might stay at these organizations, they likely won’t feel highly committed or inspired. As a result, the greatest asset of the company, their People, won’t be functioning optimally. Organizational generosity wins the loyalty and best efforts of their employees, which pushes the company forward. Put simply, being generous with your People input will lead to a greater People output.  

Adding value to customers and clients. 

Generous organizations seek to add immense value to its customers and clients. They try to deliver far more value than one would expect for their price. This is contrasted to a business approach of adding just enough value to customers and clients to fulfill promises and avoid complaints. Companies can find a level of success taking this route, but likely won’t win customer devotion or create an exceptional reputation for themselves. I’m sure we can all recall a positive experience we had as a customer of a generous organization. Maybe they promptly replaced a product that broke with a more expensive one, or went out of their way to ensure you got the best discount. Likely, that experience not only made your day, but gave you a fondness for the company and won your future business. 

Sharing profits with the community. 

A generous organization shares profits with the community. They value not just their impact on their employees and customers, but their impact on the world at large. Many companies might find it counterintuitive to give money away. In extreme cases, companies take advantage of the community for their own gain. Whether or not an organization chooses to share profits with the community really comes down to its purpose for existing. A generous organization exists to do more than just sell their product or service. Our CEO, Jonathan Reynolds, puts it this way, “Our Profits are there to make the world a better place.”  

The bottom line. 

How does organizational generosity impact the bottom line? While it might be natural to think that generosity cripples an organization, companies that embrace generosity actually see a return on their giving more often than not. Sure, there will always be employees and customers who take advantage of generosity. And, it’s important to have some processes in place to guard against that. However, the risk of getting “burned” by operating generously should be weighed against the benefit of the sense of devotion, trust, inspiration, and purpose that both employees and customers gain when they experience organizational generosity. 

If you’d like to learn more about generosity’s impact on a people first culture and how giving your people the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves deepens the level of fulfillment they have in the work they do, then we’d love to connect, our door is always open. Click here to start the conversation.  

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