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Ray Hilbert

Ray Hilbert, CEO, Truth@Work

When Jeff Leffew launched Servant HR in 2003, he knew that as a business leader, he wanted to be held accountable to live out his faith in his professional life as well as his personal one. This part of his mission led him to Truth@Work in 2003. Jeff has been an active member ever since, one of hundreds around the country, and Truth@Work became a client of Servant HR in 2005.

Truth@Work is a nonprofit organization based in Indianapolis cofounded by Ray Hilbert, whose career path tested his ability to run a business on biblical principles versus worldly values. A man of strong conviction and bold vision, Ray and the Truth@Work team serve business leaders by hosting Christian Roundtables to integrate Christian faith into businesses’ daily operations. Products, programs and services help entrepreneurs, CEOs and executives develop and share technologies, achieve personal-spiritual-business “life integration” and balance, and experience a safe place to share issues and challenges.

Ray cofounded Truth@Work with fellow businessman Matt Peelen in 1998. At the time, they weren’t sure exactly how the new organization would function on a daily basis or precisely what this new model would look like. What they did know is they were searching for the next chapter in their lives and that the Lord would direct their steps.

In April 2000, Truth@Work had a roster of nine members. Slowly and organically, the Indianapolis organization grew. When a few people in other cities reached out with an interest in expanding Truth@Work to their cities, Ray said he wasn’t surprised.

“Since our inception, we felt it would happen. We didn’t know how or when. We just wanted to build the best things we could right now so we would be ready if and when it presented itself,” he says.

They ran beta tests in other cities for three years, 2007-2010, to see if the Truth@Work model was repeatable. The answer was yes. In 2010, Ray and his team decided to really scale and grow to other chapters. Since 2010, Truth@Work has moved into to about 30 cities.

“A very realistic plan is that by the end of 2014, we will be up to 100 cities. Five years from there, we will be in 200 markets,” Ray says. He calls it the “proverbial flywheel.” His team is totally focused on the job at hand. All systems are on go. They aren’t distracted by tasks that wouldn’t help them grow or risks they shouldn’t carry, so they are all going in the direction they want to go.

“The big takeaway of our value and relationship with Servant HR is it allows us to focus on what we do, which is grow and serve and build our Roundtable program,” Ray says. “We have peace of mind knowing our HR and payroll and all those pain-in-the-neck issues are off our plate so we can grow and build and sustain our organization.”

Truth@Work has seven full-time employees. To carry out the organization’s functions across the country, Ray and his team certify chapter presidents who are independent of the company payroll. Servant HR helped counsel Ray regarding why that would be a good structure.

From the start, Ray and Matt also made two critical decisions that have influenced the current growth. First, they wanted to be structured as a nonprofit.

“Because business owners and high-level executives are our audience, the nonprofit route has allowed us to stay very focused on what we do and to have very trusting relationships. There is no alternative agenda to make money,” Ray says.

Second, related to scalability, the Anderson University marketing graduate says Truth@Work didn’t make itself visible or findable on the web for its first several years. They didn’t want phone calls and emails without the infrastructure in place to be able to deliver on what they wanted to provide.

“We had the vision, but we intentionally didn’t position ourselves for fast, rapid growth that we couldn’t handle. So in beginning, we sent out a few letters sharing the concept and invited people to come to informational meetings regarding the Roundtable,” Ray says. Truth@Work is now highly visible on the web.

A major advantage of partnering with a PEO is to reduce risk. Asked how Servant HR helps him avoid unnecessary HR risks, Ray answers, “This the most intriguing question. My view and perspective on this is that they are doing their job right, so I don’t even know about the risks I’m avoiding.”

Most recently, Ray says Servant HR is helping Truth@Work navigate the real-world implications and impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, helping them understand how different choices might impact or affect the organization and its employees.

Servant HR has also helped on a number of occasions when Truth@Work has had to terminate employees by putting together solid exit plans to help them maintain friendships and a healthy culture. Handling those situations with honor, dignity and respect was important.

“Servant HR has been a great fit for us because they are also very family and values oriented. Christian faith is their No. 1 priority for them like it is for us. This is all a natural extension,” Ray says.

For more information about Truth@Work, visit the website. Contact Servant HR to find out how we can help your organization stay focused.