GFI Digital & its president Bruce Gibbs, are honored to be recognized on the cover of Jefferson City Magazine for his corporate culture and philosophy. Click the link below for the full article.
By Heather Feeler
Photos by Keith Borgmeyer & Anthony Jinson
Started in 1999 by local owner Bruce Gibbs, GFI Digital is a full-service office equipment business offering multi-functional printers and managed print services. GFI has 255 employees in 10 locations serving Missouri and central Illinois, with its main administrative and operations center in Jefferson City.
Prior to starting his own business, Bruce Gibbs worked for a company with a great business culture, but things changed drastically when corporate took over. He took what he learned over the years, including how to create a fun and motivated staff, and applied it to his own business model. Gibbs took the open-book management approach, made famous by businessman Jack Stack, to share financials with all employees and teach them the rules of business. It has paid dividends.
“It’s a big motivator, and we send out weekly stats,” says Gibbs. “If you’re sharing in the numbers and bonus opportunities, everyone gets smarter and understands the vision and how those numbers tie back to customer needs.”
Hitting those numbers also means that employees get to share in having fun, all funded and organized by GFI. All employees are treated to an annual volleyball weekend hosted at the Lodge of Four Seasons at Lake Ozark to spend time having fun on the volleyball court, which also has a bonus of $1,000 attached for the winning team.
“It got way too competitive. Now we have a strict ‘no jumping’ rule in volleyball to save our knees, because we were all having to have knee surgery,” Gibbs laughs.
It is that competiveness, the drive to keep getting better, that is at the heart of the corporate culture at GFI — motivation through incentive. Gibbs has built a corporate culture where those open-book numbers are part of every employee’s individual and team goals. When employees rise, so does the company.
Employees are also rewarded for exceeding goals through the annual president’s club and quarterly awards. Gibbs even gives an incentive for recruiting new employees to the team; 70 percent of GFI employees come via a reference from another employee. There is a $500 bonus for referring someone that stays at least six months with the company.
“People are everything,” Gibbs says. “Customer satisfaction becomes easier when employees are happy doing what they’re doing.”
Gibbs has learned a lot over the years, including about himself as a leader. Even though he is fiercely focused and competitive, he also understands the importance of being candid about your mistakes along the way.
“You have to be humble in business,” Gibbs says. “When something’s not right, you need to say it was a mistake and be quick to do that.”
For GFI, there’s been more wins than mistakes over the years, and their financial numbers keep trending upward. Gibbs’ motivated teams, all across the company, continue to be the drivers of their own success. It’s a success they can proudly keep growing in together.