Giving your employees an outlet to vent can help prevent the “toxic employee syndrome.” To maintain a great company culture, Doug Ireland at Freeland Painting has a Corporate Chaplain! Who doesn’t need counseling every now and then?

Josh Sweeney: What do you guys do to … Obviously it’s a fun and engaging environment in a lot of ways, but how do you extend that in order to keep them around?

Doug Ireland: We pay a guy who is, for lack of a better term, he’s a corporate counselor. His title though is chaplin, corporate chaplin. He comes in and sits in our team meetings once a month. He visits the office once a week, He takes my guys out to lunch, He goes out to lunch with me. Even though the title is chaplin, you can be as religious or as secular as you want it to be. We drop language in front of him and we try to embarrass him and get him to laugh. It’s kind of funny.

Josh Sweeney: Make him drink and things like that?

Doug Ireland: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Here’s a beer. Here’s a beer. He’s very much a part of the culture too because what we want is we want healthy employees, happy employees. I think they’re more productive. I think there’s a lot of statistics that show that as well. This is an avenue for people to vent instead of venting to each other. If you’re pissed at the boss, go talk to the chaplin. You know? That’s what we want. It’s all-

Josh Sweeney: Have you watched Billions?

Doug Ireland: Confidential.

Josh Sweeney: Do you watch Billions?

Doug Ireland: No, what is that?

Josh Sweeney: It’s like the Wendy Rhoades of Billions.

Extended to the Spouses

Doug Ireland: Yeah, I wish I knew the reference. Our corporate chaplin gives our employees a place to be fearful and be insecure and be regretful and well and hopefully be happy too. We extend that to their spouse. Couples counseling is also included in something that we give, that Freedom Painting gives as a benefit to working here.

Healthy Venting

Doug Ireland: The last employee that I hired when he found out, I forgot to tell him about this too. I was like, “You’re hired. By the way, part of what you’ll get with your package is a corporate chaplin.” He was like, “Yay.” It’s someone to complain to. I think it helps the culture because it helps build trust. To act like employees are going to be happy all the time is insane. That’s just not life. That’s not how life works. There’s going to be some frustration from time to time and what we want is a healthy way to vent that.

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