PepperMill July 2015

Tim’s Passin’ Some On

Sometimes I think life is all about the big picture.

When the game of life is over, was it generally well spent? Was it enjoyable? Did you do some good? Did you keep the bad to a minimum?

Or in business, are you looking long term or reacting by the quarter? Are you about churning goods as fast as you can—and still maintaining quality along with helping your team innovate and grow?

The big picture is somewhat of a guide, a simple compass providing general direction. But once you want to start pinpointing the daily things you need to accomplish—all the tricks of life’s trade—you need the Rules of Thumb!

Many of these easy-to-remember nuggets of genius are probably not being shared the way they used to, from generation to generation. I remember hearing them while fishing with my dad or around the campfire on our scouting and camping trips. But those activities are down in popularity these days.

In today’s digital world, where we can look up the answers to anything we want in a couple of seconds, these gems seem no longer relevant. But should Armageddon cause us to revert to some basic skills, we should have the book Rules of Thumb by Tom Parker handy.


It takes three apples to make a glass of apple cider.

You need one bull for every twenty-five cows.

Plant corn when the oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ears.

It takes about forty gallons of maple sap to make a gallon of maple syrup.

For best speed in unmarked wilderness, always aim for the heaviest timber.

Rules of Thumb lovers, I’m happy to have shared a few with you. And please, pass them on around the fire pit tonight.

Tim Padgett

“The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages is preserved into perpetuity by a nation’s proverbs, fables, folk sayings and quotations.”
—William Feather

“All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.”
—Anna Quindlen


Client Spotlight: Griffith Laboratories

At Pepper Group, we are big believers in the office environment as a communication venue. Great images, inspirational quotes, cool statistics, fun facts … all of these create opportunities to “market” to one of your most important audiences—the people who get the job done. And anyone who visits gets the benefit of understanding your company and its culture even better, just by gazing at the walls. Our client, Griffith Laboratories, a family-owned developer and manufacturer of customized food ingredient systems, totally “gets it”—and turned to Pepper Group for help.

Griffith’s headquarters in Alsip, Illinois, are host not only to hundreds of local employees and visiting team members from around the world, but also to clients, vendors and prospective employees. Griffith wanted to liven up the office while celebrating the company’s global presence. With locations throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia—each with different specialties, manufacturing capabilities and local cultures—there was a challenge in displaying the uniqueness of each facility while still communicating each one’s important place in the Griffith family. It was a challenge Pepper Group was ready to accept!

We developed a concept that highlights each location while staying true to the Griffith brand. Walking through the halls or sitting in the conference room at the company’s headquarters, employees and guests see individual panels that make up the larger installation of thirteen. Each piece showcases a country where Griffith has a facility, using the city name and map coordinates to emphasize Griffith’s global viewpoint while drawing very specific attention to each one. Using a combination of beautiful architecture specific to the region and a custom illustration of a meal that represents the local culture, each piece reinforces Griffith’s commitment to taking “food beyond boundaries.”

The result? Gorgeous, completely custom artwork that spruces up the space … with a purpose!

If your office space could be communicating better for you, give us a call. And to see how Griffith takes food beyond boundaries around the globe, visit

6 Keys to a Successful Employee Volunteering Program

Pepper Group, through its partner technology company Teer1, recently analyzed top-of-the-line employee volunteering programs at five mid-market companies. In this research, we identified six common traits that make their programs top-notch. Does your company follow these best practices?

According to a recent study by the Points of Light Foundation, employee volunteerism is on the rise. 20 years ago, only 31% of companies surveyed reported having an employee volunteering program. Today, that number is well over 80%. Another recent study by Boston College found that 92% of survey respondents have some kind of employee volunteering program. And of the 8% that don’t, 90% of them said they are going to develop one.

Whether you have a program that you want to improve, or you want to put one in place, consider how you can apply these six best practices:

1. Focus on a sustained commitment to the local community, connecting clients, employees and community members. People love to see impact in their own backyards.

2. Establish values from the top down, and execute from the bottom up. In other words, don’t rely on management to run the program. Set the direction and let passionate employees drive the success.

3. Tie in the volunteering program with professional development opportunities. Allow employees the chance to gain new skills—perhaps through organizing an event, driving internal communications, developing outside partnerships or leading an internal initiative.

4. Promote teamwork, team-building and fun. Use events and committees to develop new connections between employees who don’t often interact. This can drive engagement, loyalty and improved performance.

5. Tie your program and the causes into the company’s culture and core business. Use the program to reinforce your brand and turn employees and community members into brand ambassadors.

6. Leverage volunteering efforts into marketing, PR and recruiting value. Capture images and share stories to create differentiation and drive business success.

To learn more about these best practices, you can download our whitepaper from And if you’re interested in improving your employee volunteering program, let’s talk. We have years of experience in this area, as well as a brand-new mobile app that can help you engage your employees in new ways and create significant business value.

George Couris

Double Take: Trippin’ Through the Years

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Throw another shrimp on the barbie. I (heart) (anywhere). Tourism campaigns can put a place on the map, and there’s no better time than summer to take a road trip through the ones that stand out, for better or worse.

Join Joe and Sharla as they help you chart your summer travels.

YouTubin’: The SloMo Guys

For July’s YouTube selection, I’m going to introduce you to the latest video from Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy, two lads that obviously have a lot of fun with some very expensive technology. They call themselves The SloMo Guys, and they capture amazing, sometimes irreverant, HD footage using a pair of high-speed Phantom Flex cinema cameras shooting at 2,500 frames per second! 

While you could spend hours diving into their YouTube channel, give this latest video a view just to get a sample of the beauty of our world in slow-motion. Gav and Dan punctured colorful water balloons up in the air and the results are breathtaking! 

Some of their more interesting videos were actually spawned from viewer suggestions, so if there’s something going on in your backyard that you’d like to examine closer and slower, drop them a note.

Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood