Eastern Industrial Supplies, INC is a South Carolina based company that specializes in the distribution of pipes, valves, fittings, and commercial plumbing products. The company began operating in Greenville, SC in 1980 and “focused on exceeding customer expectations through God-honoring values of honesty, integrity, caring, self-responsibility and being positive” Eastern Cares. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://easternpowertech.com/eastern-cares/. Additionally, the company created a culture where the focus is on caring in which people are always more important than profits.
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This cultural aspect of awareness and caring led to the creation of an internal program known as the Easter Cares program. The program was established in 2002 to help facilitate the keen care for people. The ultimate outcome for the program is to promote a positive impact on the lives of others within their company, community, country and other cultures around the world. These four principles; company, community, country, and other cultures was coined the “Four C’s” and has become the foundation to which the Eastern Industrial Supplies Cares program has shown its commitment in helping others.
To help promote the idealism of the program Eastern Industrial Supplies partnered with Marketplace Chaplains, USA, an outreach ministry that has an array of Chaplains available to help in assisting associates and their families. In doing so, programs such as the Associate Emergency Fund, Educational Assistance, Scholarship Fund Awards, and Adoption Assistance, etc. were created to have an impactful outcome and helpful hand to those in need.
However great the concept and idealism behind the Eastern Cares program, the analysis of whether religious leaders and institutions should coexist will be explored further in the following paragraphs.
Identify the reasons to retain the Eastern Cares program
From an institutional perspective there are many reasons as to why Eastern Industrial Supplies should retain the Cares program. Their providing a company culture that conveys internally and externally that they care about their employees and customers. A business integrity that’s transparent and demonstrates integrity and responsibility on how they participate in business. Additionally, their communicating a sense of stewardship and involvement to the community, country, and other cultures by participating in programs such as Helping Hands, March of Dimes, National Breast Cancer Association, and mission-oriented project across the world.
Furthermore, a clear message is being translated to their associates and their families that the company cares about the whole person concept and their overall well-being. By allowing chaplains in the workplace Eastern Industrial extends compassionate care to the workforce which in turn garners dedicated employees, lower turnover rates, increased focus, and reduction in stress just to name a few. Seales (2012) noted that “industrial and corporate chaplains have exercised influence greater than the sum of their numbers in their use of pastoral care to mediate spiritual and economic meaning in the workaday world” (p7). With no cost to participate the message is clear that their committed to helping and serving others.
The Eastern Cares program additionally provides an ethical framework that is associated with the right model and is a win – win situation for the organization and their employees. The virtue model within this Christian framework allows the employees to have the correct attitude that correlates with their correct action. This model consists of three key components of service, vision, and truth which in turn develops a virtuous relationship with the organization.
Identify the reasons to eliminate the Eastern Cares program
As one may ascertain there may be many downfalls in incorporating chaplains with a business perspective. Is it ideal for the two to coexist? There are signs, though, of increasing opinion that chaplains should not to be in the workplace. One particular downfall to having such a program is the question of discrimination towards an individual based on their religious beliefs or feelings. If a person has a different belief system than that of the Eastern Cares program will they be mistreated, terminated, or subject to a hostile work environment. Miller & LoRusso (2018) found that “corporate chaplaincy continues to be dominated by Chaplains from Protestant Christian traditions. Maintaining an interfaith approach is delicate work, and from time to time Chaplains have been disciplined for overstepping boundaries” (p.3). For all intensive purposes Eastern Industrial opens themselves up to such scrutiny whether it’s implied or not. In today’s wide range of personal and religious beliefs it can be difficult for one program to encompass all without someone feeling isolated or left out.
Confidentiality is also an additional area of concern when deciding whether or not to eliminate the Cares Program. Part of a Chaplains responsibility is to provide counsel on a multitude of areas. In doing so, privileged information will be exchange and if this information is not kept in a confidential manner and shared with the organization staff potential pitfalls arise.
What financial benefits does Eastern Industrial gain from having the Cares Program? The amount of time whether internally or externally running the myriad of programs in assisting their employees and families lies primarily with the organization. Therefore, the question remains is the need to have such a program worth the financial burden and time as the overall return of investment is financially low. Lastly, if the Eastern Cares program ethical framework shifts to a survival model (opposite of the virtue model) it becomes a lose – lose situation for the organization and its employees. The survival model within the ethical framework correlates to employees having a I win, you lose attitude. This particular model consists of three key components as well: privilege, fear, and deception. Which in turn leads to wrong employee behaviors and degradation within the organization.
Should a function like the Eastern Cares program, that may be a part of the corporate culture, be subject to the same level of scrutiny or an even higher level of accountability than an operational activity that directly contributes to the bottom line?
It is instrumental that Easter Industries Supplies has the appropriate accountability of their Eastern Care Program as it’s an integral part of their corporate culture. They have outlined to their internal employees and outside organizations that the philosophy by which they operate and do business is derived from its core values of company, community, country, and culture. Therefore, not having sufficient accountability and guidelines goes outside the bottom line of what their organization is trying to accomplish.
The blueprint to where accountability should lie can be either high or low, however, it should carry the same weight of importance as being in integral part of operation of the organization. Thus, the moral guidelines to which the program was created is not lost or construed. Although the bottom line of the program may not be for a financial gain, there meeting the expectation of how they identify themselves as an organization.
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As previously mentioned, Eastern Industries Supplies wants to create a culture awareness that their bottom line is to identify people are more important that profit. To change that cultural mindset to meet a financial bottom line would mean losing the cultural identity they created as an organization. Cameron (2006) noted “the extent to which leaders have developed certain key competencies and the extent to which personal competencies match the organizations culture, serve as standards that guide development plans and improvement agendas” (p111). The overall best approach is to forge through with the Eastern Cares program while delivering a mindset and business model that meets both their operational, cultural accountability, and their bottom line.
What types of outcomes related to the Eastern Cares program could possibly be measured? How would you measure their success and impact on the overall corporate profitability?
The type of outcomes related to the Eastern Care program that could possibly be measured is employee satisfaction of the program. Employee surveys are a great tool in gathering information on programs offered by Eastern Cares and their overall satisfaction when utilizing those services. To coincide with employee surveys, I would utilize is a framework known as the Competing Values Framework. This framework can assist leaders within an organization to see potentials and failures that others do not. Cameron (2006) noted that “the Competing Values Framework provides a way for leaders to assess their own competencies, their organization culture, and, based on those measurement to develop a personal development plan and improvement agenda” (111).
Additionally, employee turnover and absenteeism are great tools in identifying whether or not employees find the organization a desirable place to be employed. Ideally, Eastern Industries Supplies would want to see a decline in these areas, hence, the benefit of the Eastern Cares program offerings assistance, and Chaplain services would have the potential to reduce turnover and absenteeism. An increase in attendance and low turnover rate can translate into better productivity, focus, and quality. Have production number increased since instituting the Cares program? Has customer complaints and product defect declined with a more focused employee? These are measurements that can be routinely analyzed over the timeframe of the Eastern Cares program.
Furthermore, participation in the Eastern Cares program can be measured to identify the overall success. As more employees see the benefits of the program, they may be more likely to participate in those programs and missions. A spike in external customer participation can additionally distinguish the success of the program on an external basis. However, a decline in participation of the Eastern Care program can signify dissatisfaction.
Lastly, has the overall profit margin increased or decreased since the implementation of the program. Although the Eastern Cares program is not designed for profit it’s part of the business model on how Eastern Industries conducts business which in turn relates to profits. Have sales increased or decreased since the involvement in company, community, country, and cultures?
To measure success, I would recommend using primary and secondary data collections sources to determine the success and impact on the overall cooperate profitability. The primary source would again be the Competing Values Framework as it also serves as a method for predicting financial performance. The secondary source of data I would analyze would be profit margins on a quarterly basis. This would provide a good gauge on the success of the Eastern Cares program and how it is relates to the bottom-line. Utilizing only one measurement prevents potential opportunities for growth, address concern and issues within the program, and could have an impact on the overall bottom-line.
Should the Eastern Cares program be eliminated or retained? Why?
In my opinion, the Eastern cares program should be retained as it speaks volumes as the kind of company it represents. It adds value by taking a faith-based approach and recognizes that people are more important than profits. Cameron (2006) found that, “creating value is an enormously complex endeavor both for leaders and for organizations. Yet, despite its complexity, value creation is the objective of every enterprise, every worker, and every leader” (p.4). It instituted a program that not only provides a helping hand to the people that work within the company but for those who are outside of it. Faith based morals in business is a lost art that should be retained and represented at all cost, however, in todays global economy everything is driven by profit margins.
Eastern Industries Supplies is a leader amongst business’s that is willing to use their gifts, talents, abilities, and giving of its resources to help others. Such acts are not only a representation of leadership, but a form of servitude to their four C’s. The Eastern Cares program should be retained as it is in integral part in the representation and recognition of Eastern Industries, INC.
Blanchard, Hodges, & Hendry (2016) noted “the world is in need of a different role model” (p.xi). Role models come in many different forms and from a business perspective Eastern Cares program represents that different role model. They are leading the way in putting the need and care of other before their bottom line. Blancahrd et al., (2016) found that “leadership is about change: initiating change, responding to change, guiding the process of change, reinforcing change, and modeling change for others” (p.xiv). In 2002 Eastern Industries Supplies created the Eastern Cares program and became a leadership role model for all businesses that focusing on company, community, country, and culture (people) are more important than their bottom-line (profit),
- Blanchard, K. H., Hodges, P., & Hendry, P. (2016). Lead like Jesus revisited: Lessons from the greatest leadership role model of all time. Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLAiGFE171023000716&site=eds-live&scope=site
- Cameron, K. S. (2006). Competing Values Leadership: Creating Value in Organizations. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=165029&site=eds-live&scope=site
- Miller, D. W., & LoRusso, J. D. (2018). Faith at work: Spiritual needs don’t end at the start of the work day. U.S. Catholic, 83(9), 19. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=130945817&site=eds-live&scope=site
- Seales, C. E. (2012). Corporate chaplaincy and the American workplace. Religion Compass, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-8171.2012.00340.x
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