Social Responsibility is a Measure of Success

Social Responsibility

One could argue that social responsibility is one of the most important core values an organization can have. Indeed, in the values statement itself we state our belief that profitability cannot be our only measure of success.

We are incredibly privileged to live in a part of the world where most of us never see the kind of need that is experienced in much of the rest of the world. There is an old proverb that says, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We have indeed been given much, and we believe it’s our responsibility to give back wherever we can.

Environmentally – We ensure we’re recycling and making the best use of our resources to minimize waste. We endeavour to be fiscally responsible and we share profits with our employees at the end of each year based on the company’s profitability.

Locally – Iridia allows every staff member three paid days per year to engaged in volunteer activities. We want our employees to be invested in their communities, and encourage the giving of their time to organizations that need their help. We give to local charities in the way of sponsorships and gifts during their fundraising campaigns.

Regionally – Recently, we have decided to support a BC-based organization or charity. We asked for staff participation in suggesting projects worthy of our support and then did a survey to determine which project people were most interested in getting involved with.

Internationally – For the first time this year, Iridia partnered with Kiva.org, an organization that facilitates giving micro loans to entrepreneurs in third-world countries. These loans enable them to start businesses that will move them out of poverty and allow them to support their families and build their local economies. We’re excited to see where these business people will be a year from now, and intend on continuing to support to these kinds of endeavours in the future.

There are lots of ways to measure success and Social Responsibility, and businesses who are leaders in the marketplace make sure they pay attention to all success factors. These activities keep us ground and grateful, and what could be more important than that?

 

Client Focus is at Our Core

Client focus

Client focus  is a big deal at Iridia. We’re always talking about them, thinking about them, and working hard for them – clients are at the forefront of everything we do. Not all of our staff are “client-facing,” in other words, we don’t all talk to or deal with clients on a daily basis, but we all know who we’re working for!

At our monthly staff meetings we report on each of our service areas, and without fail, those reports include how we are meeting our clients’ needs, or where we might need to develop new and creative ways to meet their needs.

Our founder, Dr. Allan Holmes, told the staff the story of how and why he started Iridia  17 years ago. It was to meet a need, and meeting client needs continues to be the heartbeat of Iridia today. Our philosophy of being responsive to client needs shows up in how we hire, how we focus our teams, and how we structure the company.

 

 

 
We want to be #1 in our clients’ eyes. We want their trust so that they keep doing business with us and speak well of us in the industry. Client focus takes hard work and we’re 100% committed to it.

 

What’s the Big Deal About Core Values Anyway?

“In an age of increasing global and local competition, the ability of an organization to build a culture that attracts and retains talented people is rapidly emerging as the most important criterion for financial success. Executives and employees are searching for organizations that will support them in their personal and professional growth. They want to work for companies that are not only great places to work, but are also socially responsible and embrace sustainable development. They want to feel a sense of alignment between their personal values and their company values. There is significant evidence to suggest that organizations that focus on values alignment are the most successful financially.”

Richard Barrett author of ‘Building a Values-Driven Organization‘ (2006)

core values

Core Values

Core values, alignment, triple bottom line, social responsibility, values-driven business – these are all buzz words popular in business culture today, and they are strategically important to drive business and impact decisions. But if they don’t mean anything to the people who work in the company, their value is little more than the print on the page. Under the pressure of modern day business, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters, and that’s why core values are important. They form the foundation – the “centre” if you will – of a company’s business actions and daily decisions. Employees must sense that core values are more than posters on a wall and have a direct relationship to how business is done, or the values will remain flat, unembraced and having little impact.

On a blog post in the Harvard Business Review, Tony Hsieh, the American entrepreneur who founded Zappos.com, which was sold to Amazon for $US1.18 billion, said that their core values were important to keep the company focused as it grew. In a space of just 10 years, Zappos grew from almost no sales to more than $US1 billion in annual revenue. With this kind of growth you can imagine how challenging it must have been to maintain the business culture across all departments and with all employees. Core values were what drove hiring, informed policies, affected decisions, and maintained the dynamic culture that has made the company what it is today. Zappos employees demonstrates the company’s core values because they understand them, believe them, and clearly see the application to how they do their jobs every day.

At Iridia, we strive to bring our core values alive and at the forefront of business. We encourage employees to think about what they do in the context of those values. We ask questions, make decisions, and conduct business in a way that reflects those values. When they don’t, we want to know about it!

Over the next few posts, we will be writing about each of our eight core values and how we live and breathe them in our day-to-day at Iridia. Core values truly do define a company, and alignment between those values and corporate behaviour is an unstoppable dynamic that sets apart the good from the great.

 

Spreading the Holiday Cheer

One of our core values here at Iridia Medical is social responsibility.

“We believe that the bottom line is not the sole measure of company success. As a responsible player in the global marketplace, we are committed to running our business in a way that is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and economically profitable.”

Keeping in line with living our values to the fullest, this holiday season, the team at Iridia sponsored a family of three through the Salvation Army; providing them with a food hamper and gifts to make their holiday season a little bit brighter.

Over the past two weeks our team has feverishly been putting together a hamper full of toys and food, and today we were finally able to deliver it to our sponsored family!

The family was ecstatic when we arrived and thankful for our help, but for us, we’re simply lucky to be in a position to help out those in need.

This happened to be the first year we have adopted a family for Christmas, and we are so pleased with the turn out and support of our staff. We will look to continue this next year; and you never know… one day it may even turn into a new holiday tradition.  

“Be the change you wish to see in this world” – Mahatma Ghandi

Lifelong Learning From Ten Time Olympian

Learning is a lifelong process.

The word evolves rapidly, lifelong learning means what applied yesterday may no longer apply today. At Iridia, we understand that we must continually invest in ourselves through learning.

Lifelong Learning

Canadian show jumping world champion and Olympic silver medalist, Ian Millar, has been nicknamed “Captain Canada” for his longevity and accomplishments in his sport.

In 2012, he competed in his 10th Olympic games – holding the record for the most Olympic appearances. Other accomplishments include receiving the Order of Canada, and being inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to these prestigious awards, he has won dozens of national and international competitions and is considered one of Canada’s most accomplished athletes.

Millar was 25 years old in his first Olympics in 1972. His amazing 40 year career proves that age is not a factor in personal and professional growth.

Think about how the world has changed over the last 40 years. Think about how sport and competition has changed. Imagine what it takes to remain competitive year after year for that length of time. Millar is an example of someone who believes learning happens for a lifetime.

As he prepared for each Olympic games and many national and international competitions, he was committed to learning how to improve himself as a rider, and his champion horse. Not only did he continue learning for himself, but as his career progressed he became a mentor to the younger athletes coming into the sport. He is deeply respected and admired as an athlete and a person by his teammates, his competitors, the media, and the equestrian world.

Ian Miller

Perhaps most famous for his winning career with his horse, Big Ben, the pair became Canadian icons. The relationship between a rider and his horse is intense, intimate, and powerful. When Big Ben had to retire in 1994 after 12 years of partnering with Millar, it would have been easy for him to hang it all up.

Training another horse to competition level is a tremendous amount of work and would take learning of a different kind, for both horse and rider. But Millar didn’t give up. He rode several horses to competition wins before pairing up with his current young horse, Star Power, who he says will be at peak performance level in another four years.

Millar’s patience, commitment, and passion allowed him to continue to do what he loves, in spite of setbacks and challenges.

Lifelong Learning – Continued Growth

In today’s work world it’s unlikely any of us will be at the same job for 40 years. In fact, most of us will likely have more than one career. How are we committing to learning so that we can become more skilled and experienced in order to offer our best to our employers or employees?

Iridia lives out this value by offering employees a generous training allowance and paid days off each year for training. We want our employees to know we value their continual growth in their professional and personal lives.

lifelong learning

If strategic, continuous learning isn’t part of your career plan, perhaps it’s time to make it one. Whether it’s formal education, seminars, conferences, keeping up to date on your industry or business in general, reading great books – continued learning will make you a better business owner, CEO, manager, or employee.

On the other side of learning, could consider where you could take the skills and experience you have gained, and mentor someone who is new in their career, job or industry.

After the Equestrian event at the 2012 Games, the question on everyone’s minds for Ian Millar was whether he’d be riding at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. He’ll be 69 years old. “Well, if Star Power is willing and ready, so am I!” said Millar. Star Power is still young and has a lot to learn in the next four years. My guess is, so does Millar – someone who truly demonstrates that lifelong learning is a process.

Going for Gold – Iridia’s Core Values

 

Iridia’s Core Values

I’m an unabashed Olympic addict. I love everything about the Olympics. The opening ceremonies – all the grandeur and creativity that represents the hosting nation – and I admit I get chills when the athletes enter the stadium proudly bearing their country’s flag.

Night after night I sit in front of my television, mesmerized by the talent, the strength and the endurance of the athletes running their races, competing in their events. It’s dramatic, exciting and mind-boggling as year after year, records are broken, proving the human body capable of more than we ever thought possible.

I love the stories and profiles on the athletes – learning about them as people gives us insight into their journeys and connects us with them in a powerful way so that we can’t help but cheer them on at the starting box. And who doesn’t have an internal sense of pride when one of our country’s finest pushes through their own barriers and ends up on the podium?

This world-stage event every two years is a magnificent gathering of the best of the best from all over the world; a bringing together of nations, a demonstration of teamwork, and an example of what can be accomplished with commitment, passion, and determination.

But what does this have to do with the average person going through everyday life. As I was reviewing Iridia’s core values this week, I realized that many of them align with what it takes for an athlete to compete on a world stage; to be extraordinary.

Two years ago we experienced “extraordinary” right here in our backyard as the world came to our house in February of 2010. I can say I’ve never sensed national pride like I did during those days.

Very few people came away from the 2010 Olympics without being touched by the experience in some way. But the games were extraordinary for reasons that went far beyond the schedules and the events and the medal ceremonies. They were extraordinary because they were ours! They were a demonstration of our culture, our community, and our heritage.

There was almost as much talk about the volunteers as there was about the athletes. There was a demonstration of compassion and integrity as we experienced and dealt with the tragic death of a young athlete in the first few days of competition – the worst nightmare of any Olympic games. We faced the adversity of uncooperative weather and demonstrated innovation in “making it work” so that the skiers could compete.

Core Values

Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting some blogs, based on Iridia’s core values, on what “Going for Gold” looks like in the real world – the world of every person who thinks they’re ordinary, but who has the potential to be extraordinary.

 

Innovation Corner – Flipboard

What’s the Innovation Corner?

Every month, the Iridia team gets together for staff meeting. During the meeting, we discuss a variety of topics from our diverse organization. One object on the agenda is “The Innovation Corner”.

Innovation is one of our eight core values at Iridia, values we strive to live every day. It’s one thing to say “innovation is a corporate value of ours,” but it’s another to live it.

We are always keeping our sharp eyes on the lookout; finding creative ways to fit pieces together. In order to “fit pieces together,” we need to do things more efficiently and, if possible, with the use of new tools.

The Innovation Corner is a brief (5 min.) section of the agenda dedicated to the introduction of a story, a tool, a concept, or anything else that might spur on innovation within our team.  Anyone can lay claim to the Innovation Corner in upcoming meetings, and thereby use it to share an innovative find they have come across.

“This effort has already brought forward tools that have been put to immediate use in our business operations.  In seeing how these insights have made a difference for us, we’ve decided to take time out and share them with a broader audience.” – Iridia Vice President

Flipboard

During our June staff meeting we profiled an app called Flipboard.

In a nutshell, Flipboard is a mobile app (works on iOS and Android devices) that allows you to create your own “social magazine” from various sources.

Start by downloading the app for iOS or Android. Then start putting together your customized social magazine.

You can add your own social media feeds or search for endless content from other websites and blogs (including this one!).

flipboard

Screenshot of Iridia’s “Flipboard Homescreen.”


If you would like your social media accounts and your news all in one place, then this app is for you. 

Currently we have set up an “Iridia” Flipboard account. We have added some of our social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as well as a few magazine we subscribe too. Now our staff can access all this material in one easy to read format.

To learn more have a look at the Prezi we created to show the app to our staff: http://prezi.com/yjeu7t1ywu7i/flipboard/

Stay tuned for future updates from the Innovative Corner!

Innovation Corner – OneNote

What is the Innovation Corner?

Every month, the Iridia team gets together or Skype’s in for a staff meeting. During the meeting, we discuss a variety of topics from our diverse organization. For the past 11 months we have added a new topic to the agenda – the Innovation Corner.

Innovation Corner - OneNote

Innovation is one of our eight core values at Iridia, values we strive to live every day. It’s one thing to say “hey, innovation is a corporate value of ours,” but it’s another to live it.

We are always keeping our sharp eyes on the lookout; finding creative ways to fit pieces together. In order to “fit pieces together,” we need to do things more efficiently and, if possible, with the use of new tools.

 “The Innovation Corner is a brief (5 min.) section of the agenda dedicated to the introduction of a story, a tool, a concept, or anything else that might spur on innovation within our team.  Anyone can lay claim to the Innovation Corner in upcoming meetings, and thereby use it to share an innovative find they have come across.

This effort has already brought forward tools that have been put to immediate use in our business operations.  In seeing how these insights have made a difference for us, we’ve decided to take time out and share them with a broader audience.” – Iridia President

OneNote

During our last staff meeting we profiled a program called OneNote. Now this is interesting because there is probably a good chance you have seen this program before, or at least seen the icon on your computer. That’s because it’s bundled in with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010. Unfortunately, it seems that many people still have no idea of what it is and how useful it can be.

OneNote is a great tool for collaborating on projects or taking notes at school. OneNote allows you to keep a multitude of files organized, share files with others on your network or online and continually update your “notebook” with ease – all without saving anything (it’s automatically synced).

For the best explanation of this tool check out this training video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpD7dcrHoKY]

Stay tuned for future updates from the Innovative Corner!

Innovation is the Future

Innovation is the Future

Innovation is the Future

We’re big on innovation at Iridia. In fact, it’s so important we’ve built it right in to our annual performance evaluations. That’s right, along with teamwork, quality, dependability, flexibility, and many of the other performance indicators you’d find on a typical annual review, we’ve added innovation as a performance criteria.

That means when managers sit down with employees to talk about their year, one of the things they review is what efforts the employee made to innovate in their role at Iridia. Did they bring new ideas to the table? Did they implement something that made them more efficient or effective? Did they find ways to use technology to improve productivity or performance? Were they able to look at a problem or challenge and come up with an innovative solution?

Innovation is part of the DNA at Iridia. We talk about it all the time. In fact, at every staff meeting we have a standing agenda item called the Innovation Corner. Each month someone brings an innovative idea to share with the group. We’ve shared things like Dropbox, Prezi, Wordle, Tiny URL, 99 Designs and many more ideas that keep people engaged with technology and the idea that innovation is an important part of what they do every day.

In the previous post on lifelong learning, we talked about the importance of continued learning because it changes the way we think, feel, and behave. So it is with innovation. As the world changes rapidly, we must constantly be thinking of new ways to improve our productivity, better serve our clients, manage our resources (both capital and human), and solve problems.

“Innovate or die” is the battle cry of modern business, and Iridia is making innovation part of its life blood in order to stay healthy and vibrant in these changing times.

Professionalism is not an option, it is a must

Professionalism

Professionalism can be difficult to define because it’s about so many things. It’s not just about knowing how to do a job well, it’s about attitude, behavior, and how you present yourself and represent your company. It’s demonstrating a willingness to learn, working collaboratively with others, and living up to commitments. It’s also about avoiding the kinds of behaviors that cause trouble in the workplace, like gossip, negativity, and one-upmanship.

A professional is open to the views of others and the possibility that there might be a better way – they are not threatened by the good ideas of others. They make decisions based on the best interest of the company. They are fair and treat everyone with respect, even people they do not particularly like. Professionals evaluate their own performance, have high expectations of themselves and others and constantly strive to improve.

At Iridia, we don’t just ask for professionalism, we expect it of everyone, at every level of our business. We expect people to live up to their commitments, to treat people with respect, to be skilled at what they do, to do their work well and with enthusiasm, to give 100% to their work, and to represent our company with pride and integrity. Is it a lot to ask? Sure. Is it an option to be any other way? Not according to this core value!

Professionalism is what sets one person, one company, apart from another. We want to be known for having high expectations in this area, and for delivering to our customers and to each other, the very best of ourselves.