Life happens — even at work.
The saying is true in all lines of work — including the oil patch. For that reason, Corporate Care shared a table with another faith-based organization at a recent oil and gas trade exposition.
For Boe Parrish, the business is all about helping companies and their employees deal with problems.
He started the business with his friend Scott Lewis in 1987, after Lewis asked whether he knew what a corporate chaplain was.
A company was asking his friend to become one, Parrish explained.
So, the two talked in an Edmond fast-food restaurant about what a corporate chaplain should be and came up with the idea for the company using napkins to sketch out ideas.
Today, the company has clients from North Carolina to Colorado and from Minnesota to Texas. On a weekly basis, the company cares for 5,000 employees and their family members — a total of about 20,000 people.
Parrish, who said he has worked both in the ministry and in sales, said he knew first-hand how employees could be affected on the job by personal problems.
"Life happens, and it is hard to leave a lot of that stuff at the house when you go to work,” Parrish, Corporate Care president said. "These are problems companies need to be prepared to help their employees deal with, because they often can affect productivity.”
He said corporate chaplaincy goes above and beyond other types of employee assistance programs where employees are provided a card with an 800 number that no one calls unless they are threatened with the loss of their jobs.
"Having a proactive, on-site program makes all the difference in the world,” he said.
And the chaplains are there to help the company help its employees — not to convert them.
"We are chaplains, not evangelists. We go to serve, not to convert,” he said.
Payoff for companies
Parrish remembered one case, for example, where a 31-year-old woman who was well-liked and a hard worker at her company learned she had breast cancer. While her company knew about that, it did not know that shortly after her diagnosis, her husband was involved in a car accident that left him unable to work.
When she went to the corporate chaplain, she sought only enough help to be able to afford to buy a wig. But the company, through a benevolence committee the chaplain helped organize, ultimately helped the family with its car and home payments and other expenses.
Her response, Parrish recalls, was ultimate loyalty to her employer.
And that's the significant payoff for companies, he said.
Taking care of employees
The payoff is particularly important in today's oil and natural gas business, where big companies that pay well are strenuously competing for qualified landmen and geologists and other industry-specific specialists.