ScanSource was founded in Greenville in 1992 by six partners, five of whom are still helping run the show, though the show is now much bigger.
ScanSource is a leading global provider of specialty technology products – from point-of-sale systems to 3-D technology – with 43 locations throughout North America, South America and Europe, and over 2,100 employees worldwide. ScanSource remains headquartered in Greenville, with 650 employees making up the local workforce. That number continues to grow as word gets out about the company’s innovative approach to keeping employees happy, healthy and, ultimately, productive.
As ScanSource prepares to mark a quarter century in business, UBJ sat down with CEO Mike Baur to get his take on the successful company he helped build.
We are very fortunate to have a strong management team leading the company, both in Greenville and across the globe. Our team has been instrumental to the continued growth and success of the company. Many have been with us since the early days and others came later, but each of them brings a unique perspective to the company and to our employees. The goal is to empower our employees to make decisions and do what is right with our employees, customers, investors and community in mind. Five of our original six employees are still here, including myself, Greg Dixon [CTO], Shari Huffman [Director of Business Operations], Janet Rollins [Sales] and Leah Gangloff [Management Information Systems].
ScanSource has a history of flying under the radar, but seems to be tooting its own horn a bit more lately around recruiting and retaining employees. Why has this become important? What are some of the methods you’ve employed to attract young talent?
Our concern in sharing more about the company’s involvement in the community was that it would appear to be self-serving, and that was certainly not our intention. In fact, that was one of the main reasons we continued to fly under the radar. But one thing we have continued to learn, specifically related to employee recruitment and retention, is that employees want to work for a company that cares – about its employees and its community.
We have a long history of supporting our communities, through our Foundation and as a company as a whole. Our employees feel good about giving back and they want to be able to talk about it. I would often get asked, “Why is such-and-such a company in the media talking about what they are doing, but we never are?” Our employees are proud of the work they do, and seeing that commitment to service acknowledged has been a good thing for our team. And from a recruitment standpoint, prospective employees want to work for a company that is altruistic.
The business place has changed. No longer do employees expect to go to work and sit at a desk from 9-5. They want to be able to volunteer, to work out, to visit the wellness clinic, to eat on campus. We’re proud that we have all of that to offer our employees. We want to be the most attractive employer so we can recruit the best and brightest.
Is your involvement with and support of events like iMAGINE Upstate and the Reedy River Run specifically targeted at recruitment?
For us, iMAGINE Upstate and the Reedy River Run focus on two very important issues: education and wellness. iMAGINE Upstate is committed to sharing information and insight on science, technology, engineering, the arts and math in unique and innovative ways to children. We have long been committed to supporting education initiatives in the communities where we live and work. iMAGINE Upstate was an ideal opportunity for us to do that. We are reaching the future leaders of our company, while also showcasing our technologies in a fun and interactive way. Certainly, as the title sponsor of the festival, we hope that people who don’t currently know much about us might want to know more. But more than that, we hope that we can help to reach young people and get them excited about technology and learning.
As for the Reedy River Run, we have a lot of competitors at ScanSource. Several years ago, we implemented a wellness program that has been very well received, not only in providing opportunities for our employees to improve their health and wellness from a holistic perspective but also to find new outlets for working out and getting healthy. We will have many employees taking part in the race, as they do in other local races. It’s a great way for our employees to interact together outside of the office, while also taking care of their health.
ScanSource is seen by some as the Google of Greenville, owing to the company’s focus on wellness and work/life balance. What are some of the unique benefits ScanSource employees enjoy? How did this become a company priority?
I like to think ScanSource was a bit ahead of our time when it comes to focusing on work/life balance and wellness. That line has become blurry for many. It has always been very important for us that our employees take their vacations, spend time with their families and unplug from the business when they can. But when they are in the office, we have always wanted to ensure they had access to workout facilities, as well as an on-site restaurant. Because of that, we have had a gym and café on campus since our very early days. Over the years, we have enhanced both of those. Our bistro provides delicious, healthy meals – breakfast and lunch, including a homestyle buffet. We now have two gyms on campus, personal trainers, boot camps and yoga classes. We have a Wellness Center on-site that provides employees convenient access to health care and prescription delivery. Our wellness team has a comprehensive wellness program in place focusing on improving and enhancing employees’ health in a personalized manner. I am very proud of the steps our team has taken to continue to grow this program. A happy, healthy employee leads to a thriving, successful company.
Perspectives from ScanSource leaders
Vice President – Global Human Resources
How do you motivate?
While I have tried various approaches to motivate my team, I have found that the best method is to constantly communicate with them about what is going on with the business. My team continually tells me that they feel energized when they know that they are one of the keys to the company’s success. Other forms of motivation – such as bonuses – while appreciated, typically only provide a short-term benefit, can be more for recognition than motivation, and can usually only be done on a one-off basis, not across the department.
How have you celebrated success?
In HR we often celebrate our successes amongst ourselves –as a support function, we generally do not seek the limelight, and many of our “victories” are dealing with issues and problems that are generally behind the scenes. That said, company executives who have been positively impacted by the work of our team often will go out of their way to make sure they recognize the team members who have provided assistance to them. We all enjoy a good pat on the back for a job well done. My team is also very fond of baked goods – a great way for all of us to reward ourselves. Even the wellness team loves a good scone.
Vice President – Global Marketing
What is your idea of work-life balance?
I don’t really believe in work-life balance. I believe in work-life integration. There are so many demands placed on our time today, particularly for working mothers, that it seems impossible to be all things to all people every day as “work-life balance” might suggest. Some days you may succeed at work at the expense of something at home, other days you may succeed in the community at the expense of something at work. It’s the collective progress over time that helps you grow to become the person you aspire to be. Learning to accept daily successes and failures as part of the process are all part of achieving a sense of work-life integration. In this “Pinterest world” where perfect is seemingly easy to achieve in every area of life, we have to give ourselves room for imperfection and setbacks, for failures and reflection. We have to do our best, and then be willing to let our best be enough.