Here’s a nice holiday season story worthy of mention: When Lola Gonzalez, owner of a small business that conducts background checks for job applicants and prospective tenants, realized that she needed to trim payroll expenses because of the ongoing effects of the recession, she decided to start at the top. As reported by USA Today‘s Paul Davidson (link here):
The owner of Accurate Background Check in Ocala, Fla., says she couldn’t bear to fire employees who have worked there for years. So she stopped paying herself a six-figure salary and got a job for less than half the pay as a social worker.
As the article makes clear, Gonzalez and her husband are managing okay despite the reduced income that has required some belt tightening. But even if this act falls short of a supreme sacrifice, it stands firmly in contrast to so many accounts of CEOs continuing to rake it in — and sometimes getting big bonuses — even as their companies freeze or reduce pay and benefits for others, lay off workers, and cut back on hiring.
At a time when socially responsible management can be more a marketing concept than a business practice, stories like this one help to remind us of what it really means.