Seeing BBB Through the Eyes of a Newbie

newbieHave you ever wondered what Better Business Bureau is all about? Words like “trust” and “ethics” may come to mind, but what is BBB really like? Well, let me give you an insider’s look from the perspective of a newbie.

I joined the Public Relations team at BBB in August. Before that, I had spent 10 years in broadcast television as a news reporter. Back then, I had seen BBB as a source for scam information, fraud alerts and the authority on ethical business practices.

None of that has changed. Now as an employee, I see that indeed BBB places marketplace trust at the top of its priorities list. But there are some things I’ve learned about the organization that surprised me.

1. Having fun is a priority.

One of the first things I was told as a new hire is that BBB wants me to enjoy coming to work. And they mean it! There’s a sense of humor here. People play pranks on each other, dance, joke and laugh. In the summer we have a Fun Day, where the entire office goes to a park to play, eat and enjoy each other’s company. And come Halloween, we have the most elaborate costume contest ever. It’s cut-throat!

2. BBB is a not-for-profit.

In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve learned that BBB does so much for the community. We host Secure Your ID Day events twice a year, where consumers can shred their documents and recycle old cell phones for free. We provide mediation services between businesses and customers. We have a foundation that’s giving away a $10,000 scholarship to a local high school senior this year. Not to mention the countless people who have stepped foot in our office looking for help because they’ve been ripped off.

3. Employees are valued here.

There’s a big board in my office that lists BBB’s core values. Around that list is a circle of words that reads, “Our People: Talent Acquisition, Retention and People Development.” BBBers actually have a name for this circle: They call it The Hug. That’s because BBB believes it’s the people who hug and hold the success of the organization together. That makes us a valuable and treasured commodity.

4. BBB is led by a man who believes in doing the right thing.

I’m talking about our CEO Tyler Andrew, who will undoubtedly read this. Obviously it’s awkward and embarrassing for me to write about him since he’s my boss, but I felt compelled to add him to this list because he truly is one of the most surprising things about BBB.

Let me be clear: I’m not the “kissing up” type.

Tyler is the kind of guy who goes out of his way to make you feel welcome, to push you to not settle for second best and is always open to new ideas. Basically (and amazingly) he’s a guy you’d like to grab a drink with. And you know what I’ve discovered? The kind of culture he fosters makes employees enjoy working for him. It’s like we all want to go the extra mile for him because we know he’d do that for us.

It’s a simple formula, if you really think about it. It’s a shame it’s so rare.

Recently Tyler came down for a surprise visit to our Oregon office. He brought balloons and gifts and revealed the theme for our new year: Onward and Upward. I look forward to seeing what new surprises 2015 will bring!

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