Rob Purdy, Founder & CEO CarltonOne Engagement tells us about transforming how the world measures, recognizes and rewards human performance.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rob Purdy: Frankly, it’s been really challenging for our family and for the families of all our employees. We’ve very intentionally tried to be as accommodating and flexible as possible and help everyone at CarltonOne adjust to all of the unexpected disruptions that this pandemic has created.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded CarltonOne Engagement.
Rob Purdy: I created CarltonOne to crack the code of employee engagement. Frankly, it’s the world’s most complex puzzle…because at its heart, it’s all about human emotions, gratitude, purpose and motivation. This work is deeply rewarding and meaningful for me, and along the way, we’ve introduced technologies that make work mean more for people working in offices, factories, stores and boardrooms in over 85 countries.
How does CarltonOne Engagement innovate?
Rob Purdy: Well, I could talk about our technology story here (which is awesome and involves AI and personalization and real-time global ecommerce), but I’d much rather tell you about the innovation that I am the most proud of. I’ve been a lifelong environmentalist and climate change evangelist. It’s taken me over 20 years, but I’ve finally created a viable business model called Evergrow that transforms customer activity into eco-action funding. Since early 2020 we’ve funded the planting of 5 million new trees to fight deforestation and extreme poverty in Madagascar, Nepal, Mozambique and Kenya. To me, this is the missing link in many corporate social responsibility solutions. Helping employees and sales teams help the environment while being recognized and rewarded for their exceptional performance is a true game-changer. It’s automatic, seamless and creates a very tangible real-world outcome. We’re integrating this eco-action business model across our entire product platform – enabling us to achieve my goal of funding 100 million trees every year by the end of 2022.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Rob Purdy: To be honest, in March and April of 2020, it was more than a little scary — from both a financial and healthcare perspective. But then something transformational happened. Our clients realized the true power of our solutions to help motivate, engage and bridge the gaps that their employees were experiencing due to social distancing and remote work. 2020 became one of our busiest years, and thankfully we continue to grow today.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Rob Purdy: No. To me, it’s simple…. surrounding myself with the most talented people is how I guarantee long-term success. We put a lot of time and diligence into finding and nurturing the right people. Our employees entrust us with their career — and we take that responsibility seriously. I was determined not to make the mistakes of many companies that reflexively retrenched entire teams and lose extraordinary talent. I’m proud to say that our team, and our capabilities, have only grown through 2020/21.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Rob Purdy: We’re technology neutral when it comes to our clients. As a company, we manage over 1,000 client relationships in 85 countries, and through those clients, we serve over 2 million customers every day. We’ll use whatever tools our clients prefer, and that flexibility has always been our ethos.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Rob Purdy: No, we were in the fortunate position of seeing our sales steadily grow throughout 2020, which enabled us to escalate our tree funding commitments and plant over 5 million new trees. It felt really positive to be able to create some good out of such a challenging year.
Your final thoughts?
Rob Purdy: I’ve been building employee engagement tools for the best part of 3 decades, and I’ve learned the single most powerful incentive is giving people purpose. We all want to feel we are contributing and living a meaningful life — especially in a year where our own mortality is so starkly demonstrated. Work is one of the most critical elements of both our livelihood and our identity. If a company can make work mean more, then every employee will feel more fulfilled, appreciated and loyal. And that’s what we’re building at CarltonOne.
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