A Q&A with Scot Lowry, President and CEO of Fathom
We sat down with Scot Lowry, president & CEO of Fathom, a digital marketing agency headquartered in Valley View, to discuss how he approaches this challenge, engages his employees and reports on results. It all starts with Fathom Gives, a program the agency launched in partnership with BVU. Fathom Gives provides a repeatable framework for business owners to increase engagement with their own employees. Here’s what we learned.
Purpose at Work Journal: Can you describe the Fathom Gives program?
Scot Lowry: Fathom Gives is our community impact program designed to maximize Fathom’s direct impact on our community via volunteerism, pro-bono work, donations, events and non-profit board support. Additionally, and equally as important, Fathom Gives is a key tool to help us increase engagement of Fathomers. Employee engagement is THE #1 challenge facing all employers. According to Gallup, 70% of employees in the US are not engaged in their work. This results in billions of dollars in lost productivity and customer service issues.
Why was this specific approach developed?
It was developed to strategically focus our time, money and energy in a way that maximizes our impact in our community, while at the same time helping us increase Fathomer engagement. We believe that the most important opportunity to improve performance is by increasing Fathomer engagement.
Engagement to us means Fathomers voluntarily and eagerly bring ALL of their creativity and initiative to their work at Fathom. We believe that a key factor in doing this is whether or not we demonstrate as a company that we care about a higher purpose beyond just paychecks and profits. People are not likely to bring all of themselves to anything if they don’t feel it really matters. We have several ways we demonstrate this to Fathomers. Fathom Gives is one of them.
What results has Fathom seen as a result of the program?
As a young organization, we are constantly undergoing change. Change can create challenges and stress for Fathomers, putting a damper on morale and engagement. We track engagement by measuring satisfaction and other metrics on a weekly basis with brief, anonymous surveys.
Fathom Gives has been repeatedly noted as one of the positive factors in improving engagement. In the last 6 months, after an exceptionally challenging period of change, we have seen our engagement scores improve by 40%, and Fathom Gives is an explicit factor in this improvement. We currently have record high levels of engagement and expect Fathom Gives to continue to help us improve and maintain high levels for the long haul.
Overall, we target giving 10% of our profits through the program in the form of hours and dollars contributed. We have met this goal in the last three years and expect to do it this year as well. Finally, we track the specific impact of our program and report on it annually. This helps make the impact of our efforts explicit for Fathomers so they are able to see clearly the impact they are making. We also share this without customers and sincerely thank them for helping us make this possible as our clients. We also publish this on our website: http:// www.fathomdelivers.com/about/fathomgives/
The above are just a few of the great insights and experiences Scot shared with us. If you would like to learn more, you can read his entire interview in our latest issue of the Purpose at Work Journal.