At Marvin Windows and Doors, a third- and fourth-generation family-owned and operated business, ethical standards are a cornerstone of success.
Recently awarded the 2014 American Business Ethics Award (ABEA), Marvin Windows and Doors takes pride—and sees a return—in integrating principled practices into every aspect of their business.
“It helps us attract customers, it helps us attract employees, continues a very positive reputation, and guides our decision making,” says Susan Marvin, company president.
The ABEA title is selected by the Foundation for Financial Service Professionals, with past awardees including Starbucks and General Mills. Marvin Windows and Doors also won this Minnesota Business Ethics Award earlier this year.
This commitment to ethical operations is holistic, and impacts stakeholders from employees to customers to business partners. “There’s not a part of the business that it doesn’t show itself,” Marvin says.
While initiatives such as avoiding employee layoffs during the recent recession and long-running profit sharing programs may be some of the most easily visible, impact is equally felt in the company’s product development.
“If doing the right thing is serving your customer, what it teaches you to do is listen very carefully to what your customer is telling you. As a result, you come out with very innovative, high quality products,” Marvin explains. “Customers want high performance, secure, energy-efficient products. In listening to the customer, it does drive product design.”
Company ethics are also a major component of cultivating positive relationships with builders or trade partners. “If I had to boil it down to a word, it would be trust," says Marvin. "Our customers know what they can expect from us, and they have confidence in us and in our ability to make decisions for the long term."
By delivering high-quality products that customers want, maintaining a reputation as a partner of choice, and treating employees well, companies can prosper and build sustainable success. And contrary to what some may believe, having a strong value base to draw on simplifies business priorities, says Marvin. “Values and ethics make decision-making easier," she says.
Marvin emphasizes aligning your actions with your words, keeping continuity in your business practices, and creating a positive culture for those involved with your company.
“It’s just, plain and simple, about trying to
do the right thing,” she says.