April 01, 2017
The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling 2017 Honorees
by Andrea Tortora
Table of Contents
Employees say there is never a dull moment at AdvoCare.
Even as the company grows into a larger firm, it manages to maintain a family feel and build strong bridges between those at the Plano, Texas corporate office and distributors working in the field.
“Things move fast here and there is always something new taking place,” said Stephen Whitwell, Sales Vice President. “I always say that the one thing that separates us from everyone else is our company culture. That is our secret sauce.”
AdvoCare’s culture is that of a caring and a close-knit community. Founder Charles Ragus genuinely cared about others and felt great joy out of making others happy, said Jenni McGaha, one of his three daughters. That focus on helping people remains strong today.
The environment is built on making a positive impact on people’s lives throughout the company, said Allison Levy, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer.
“We use the culture to build a relationship between those at corporate and those in the field,” Levy said. “When both sides of the equation have the same appreciation for what we are doing, and a mutual respect, it only strengthens the business and our ability to be successful.”
Whitwell sees it in action every day. He serves as a liaison between distributors and internal employees, keeping corporate apprised of the pulse of things across the country and taking important communications back out into the field.
“We set the pace and the tone for the culture at corporate but in the field distributors also see and feel it, and we’ve built a foundation of trust between the two,” Whitwell said.
Employees and distributors at every level must do their part for the entire business to be successful, McGaha said. That’s why AdvoCare provides excellent benefits and numerous recognition and rewards to show employees the company cares about them and to acknowledge their hard work.
“It instills loyalty so that people come to work wanting to do their best and are always on the look out for ways to make improvements—and feel comfortable offering those suggestions,” McGaha said.
When those in the warehouse pack boxes so that the products arrive in good shape, they are adding to the customer experience.
When employees in customer service (where McGaha worked for a long time) spend time talking to distributors every day, “they get an earful of suggestions that they can pass along,” McGaha said. That includes everything from ideas for new products and product names to rewards and promotions.
AdvoCare pays close attention to the benefits it provides to employees, which include a generous health plan, a 401(k) retirement savings plan that is 100 percent matched up to a certain percent and tuition assistance.
As a health and wellness company, AdvoCare also encourages employees to stay fit. Benefits that promote wellness include a monthly $50 allowance for gym membership, onsite fitness classes, access to AdvoCare products, and an onsite Front Porch Pantry that provides healthy food options.
Not to mention the annual Crawfish Boil, which honors the founding family’s Shreveport, Louisiana roots and is just plain old fun, especially since there’s usually someone who’s never had a crawfish, McGaha said.
“We love rewarding people for good work, and we do give bonuses, but sometimes that is not always as meaningful as showing appreciation through other ways.”
Executives and HR pay close attention to employee suggestions for improved benefits, too. “We’re always looking to improve every part of our culture too,” Levy said. “We may be good today, but how do we make it better tomorrow?”
Newly revealed perks include eight weeks of paid maternity leave for moms and two weeks of paid paternity leave for dads. Nursing pods for breastfeeding moms soon will be added.
While HR and management can’t grant every request, they make an effort to “answer suggestions in a real way,” said Katie Cassady, HR coordinator.
The new year is always the busiest time at AdvoCare, as many people resolve to get fit and healthy. But many employees wanted to have New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day off, so leaders and employees found a way.
“They broke their backs and made it happen,” Cassady said. “Those little changes matter and that is really important. That is why people stay.”
Many AdvoCare employees have worked for the 24-year-old company for a decade or longer. Of course, employees do leave when a spouse gets transferred or to pursue other opportunities, but quite a few come back, too, McGaha said.
“That says a lot about your company.”