The COVID-19 crisis is teaching everyone entirely new lessons about how to conduct business. At The Miller Group, we’ve found that having a solid set of corporate values provides the perfect launching pad to drive action and decision making in a time of crisis.
Our corporate values have not wavered:
- We place God, family, and community first.
- We care.
- We take ownership.
These values came from our dad, Robert E. Miller, who founded the company in 1961. In fact, on his tombstone, there’s a simple statement: AMDG – Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, the Latin motto of the Jesuits, which means “for the greater glory of God.” Dad was dedicated to serving others to the greater glory of God, and our response comes from that. We seek to serve others and find ways to place God, family and community first.
So, how does that play out for us during a tough time like this? First, it drives how we treat our employees. We decided early on to retain all our employees and moved them home as quickly as possible – even though we weren’t required to. We happen to be in the midst of an office move, and we’ve carefully orchestrated shifts of four employees at a time – each taking a corner of the office – to pack up their areas. We’re working to keep them safe while also letting them retain ownership of their workspaces.
We’ve also continued our monthly company Bible study through Zoom. The topic this week was integrity, and we talked about a time when a client that generated a fair amount of revenue was treating our employees poorly. We quietly asked them to place their business elsewhere – clearly demonstrating that our employees – our family members – come first.
We’ve moved our monthly all-associate meeting to a weekly virtual format, and we start each one with prayer. Our weekly executive team meeting is now daily, and we also start with prayer requests where leaders bring employee needs to the team’s attention. We also build in a gratitude moment, when we share positive actions from our team members.
The role of our corporate chaplain is even more important now, too. We’ve had one for 15 years. He leads our monthly Bible study and does rounds in the office every week. He is available to work with associates and stays in close contact during personal struggles. We’re now finding ways to continue that interaction virtually.
The Miller Group has always been philanthropic, and we’re continuing our focus on the community during this crisis. We’ve encouraged employees to shop locally as much as possible to help area businesses stay strong. To reinforce the idea, we asked each employee to order dinner from a local restaurant this week – with expenses reimbursed by The Miller Group. We also know our nonprofit community will be hit especially hard. We’ll continue to donate our time and talent and treasure to those organizations that help our community’s most vulnerable populations.
We are sensitive to the number of inputs our clients are dealing with right now, so we’re gently reaching out to offer help and guidance as policies and legislative actions affect their health care and commercial insurance needs. For example, we can help them think through how to keep worker’s comp and other expenses in line as they make decisions about downsizing, different working arrangements and employee benefits changes. And, we have added a COVID-19 page to our website that contains important resource documents and relevant links for their businesses.
No one knows when life and business will return to something that feels more normal. We are confident, however, that our corporate values will remain strong, and they will continue to guide us in this uncharted territory.
By Sean Miller, CEO