Putting people first

Supporting our associates by helping them grow professionally and achieve their personal best, taking a holistic approach to wellness and safety in order to support a LiveTotal Health mindset and creating a high energy, high performance culture are the hallmarks of how we GroMoreGood for and with our associates. 

Our culture and commitment to our associates sets our company apart. Every associate, and every job, is important to our success and to helping us live out our purpose to GroMoreGood, everywhere. We are dedicated to doing our best for each other, our customers and our communities. We strive to create an environment that values the health, safety and wellness of our teams, and we work to equip them with the knowledge and skills to serve our business and develop in their careers.

Culture

Our company remains headquartered in Marysville, Ohio, only five miles from where we were founded more than 150 years ago. In fact, generations of families have worked for us. We are successful because each person and part of our business works together to deliver our strategic priorities. Our supply chain, sales team, marketing experts, R&D scientists and strategic support functions, including tax, finance and legal, all play a role in our success. We provide many opportunities for our associates to grow and develop. Our associates are continuing to build careers everywhere we operate. Their responsibilities are vast, from manufacturing innovative solutions to creating R&D breakthroughs. As we look at our leadership team, many of them started their careers as merchandisers and counselors supporting our consumers in stores.

Business ethics

We are guided by our cultural attributes that include being passionate, ethical and respectful. ethical behavior is our most important cultural attribute. There is no personal or business goal worth compromising our integrity and commitment to ethics. Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics serves as a behavioral guide to help us conduct our business with honesty, integrity and professionalism. 

In 2020, we updated our Code to expand the language around health, safety and wellness and incorporate lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. We also included language specifically prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and added additional guidance for escalating and resolving conflicts of interest. Our associates can share concerns, and are encouraged to do so, through multiple avenues, including speaking with their direct supervisor, calling the 24/7 Ethics and Compliance HelpLine or sending a confidential letter to the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors. We investigate every report of alleged misconduct and do not tolerate retaliation. Everyone working for ScottsMiracle-Gro or on our behalf is expected to conduct business legally and ethically. We train our associates concerning a number of policies and compliance areas, including our commitment to anti-bribery. Training is role-dependent and role-specific, and the amount of time is commensurate with the associate’s role within the organization. To our suppliers and business partners, we provide our expectations in writing concerning ethical business and human rights practices. We take steps to help ensure that our partners, suppliers, consultants and others who do business with us don’t engage in corrupt practices on our behalf. 

Associate engagement

We are proud of our values-based culture. One way we build this culture is by empowering our associates to take an active role in participating in, and leading in, our business. Through associate resource groups, volunteer opportunities and cross-functional projects that tackle some of our biggest business challenges, we create a workplace where everyone feels included as a part of our family. We work to foster a safe, healthy and inclusive workplace culture where all associates are engaged to grow and thrive. This means cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace that reflects the communities where we operate. 

To that end, our leadership is engaging in several initiatives to actively listen to associates and encourage dialogue on important topics. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to engage with our associates to understand the impact of working from home, including productivity, performance, caregiver responsibilities and additional factors such as new school year guidelines for families. To communicate with our associates more personally, we sent letters to their homes discussing company updates on topics such as health and safety during the pandemic, including mental health, and our updated Code of Business Conduct & Ethics. We also used surveys to review and respond to prior feedback we received from our associates. our leadership team holds regular town hall meetings and other forums to Share and receive information.

Employee resource groups

Scotts Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, associate-led groups usually formed by people with a common affinity: gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, military status or other attributes. Each ERG establishes a mission to positively impact the business. ERGs are open to anyone interested independent of race, national origin or other differing demographics. 2020 ERG accomplishments include the following:

  • A celebration of the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage through a virtual event with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty
  • Approximately $20,000 in donations by associates for gift cards to support military families
  • Donations of mulch, grass seed, and Ortho® Bug B Gon® in support of the nonprofit A Soldier’s Journey home
  • Donation to the Clark County Veteran’s Assistance Center
  • Donation to the Columbus Veteran’s Stand Down
  • Participation in the National Veteran’s Memorial & Museum run in Ohio
  • A $470 donation to Kaleidoscope Youth Center from a Tupperware® party fundraiser.
  • Bike donations to the Remember Us Urban Scouts organization in Columbus, Ohio

Scotts Women’s Network

Scotts Women’s Network (SWN) is dedicated to maximizing women’s career potential and leadership skills for the advancement of professional women and to strengthen our leadership diversity. SWN hosts regular professional development and networking events and connects its members to meaningful volunteer opportunities with organizations including Dress for Success and Meals on Wheels. 

Scotts Veterans Network 

Scotts Veterans Network (SVN) exists to recruit, develop, connect, empower and retain veterans through increased opportunities and resources to enhance their professional development and business success within the company. SVN is open to currently active military members, veterans, associates with family members or friends serving in the military and those who want to support them. Throughout the year, SVN supports a variety of causes such as the Heroes for Heroes 5K Mud Run and the nonprofit organization Canine Companions for Independence which trains and places service dogs with veterans experiencing post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other disabilities. SVN also sponsors the Scotts Veterans Challenge Coin which is presented to associate veterans in honor of their service. 

Scotts Black Employees Network

The Scotts Black Employees Network (SBEN) supports, develops, connects, empowers, recruits and retains talented black, African, African American and Caribbean associates. SBEN sponsors a range of education and engagement programming for associates throughout the year. Recently, SBEN has facilitated associate learning around issues of racial disparity and educated associates on African American history and contributions to society. Members give back to the community through activities like preparing blessing bags for the local YWCA shelter. 

Scotts Young Professionals

Scotts Young Professionals (SYP) is dedicated to connecting, growing and guiding the next generation of leaders by fostering innovation, engagement and new ways of thinking at ScottsMiracle-Gro. SYP members organize regular networking and mentorship events, participate in charity fundraisers and volunteer to mentor Central Ohio youth through The Legacy Project.

Scotts GroPride

Newly formed in 2020, GroPride is dedicated to fostering an inclusive, supportive global network and provides a forum for education and awareness supporting the professional growth of LGBTQ+A individuals. Shortly after it launched, GroPride sponsored a Pride Month article series for associates and hosted a virtual fundraiser to benefit the Kaleidoscope Youth Center. GroPride also worked with the Human Rights Campaign to support our company in participating in the Corporate Equality Index for the first time. 

Diversity and human rights

We value our associates’ diversity, from gender, sexuality and race to thoughts, interests, languages and beliefs. We encourage associates to leverage their varied life experiences to build a strong organization. We are committed to upholding human rights and operating all aspects of our business in a responsible, honest and ethical manner. This holds true not only within our business but throughout our sales and supply chain infrastructures. We engage with our customers and suppliers to ensure we respect all people with whom we come in contact as a business.  What do these commitments mean for us?

  • Respect all individuals and commit to treating all of our associates with dignity and respect, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; expect the same of our suppliers and business partners.
  • Strive to treat people fairly and prohibit discrimination.
  • Do not tolerate intimidation or harassment.
  • Have processes in place to ensure we meet legal requirements regarding voluntary employment and minimum working age.
  • Comply with applicable local and national laws concerning freedom of association and collective bargaining. We respect our associates’ rights to join, form or not join a labor union. Where our associates are part of a legally recognized union, we bargain in good faith with the union representatives. Approximately 4% of our associate workforce is covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Our commitment to upholding human rights has not gone unrecognized. In 2020, we participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index for the first time, receiving a score of 80/100. Our score reflected our strengths in diversity, equity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+A community, including the following:

  • Protections against the discrimination of associates’ sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Providing benefits for same-sex, married spouses
  • Transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage
  • Our LGBTQ+A employee resource group, GroPride
  • Guidelines that prohibit philanthropic support to any non-religious organizations that have a written policy of discrimination against LGBTQ+A people 

To inform our diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) priorities, we conducted various diagnostic exercises to understand our current gaps and future opportunities. This includes surveys, executive interviews, focus groups, conversation series and audits of our current talent and ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In response to the racial justice movement of 2020, we implemented a company-wide series on unconscious bias, led various education discussion groups throughout the organization, updated our policies and code of conduct and created a specific space on our intranet dedicated to DE&I. Our associates mobilized a grassroots movement to continue this important dialogue. The Power of Change Circles are a place where associates can learn, discuss and become empowered as change agents. The Power of Change Circles leverage a variety of resources to start the conversation as well as the momentum generated by the Real Talk series. Real Talk was a series of virtual conversations supported by our leadership with the intention of creating awareness and promoting authentic dialogue. Drawing on the expertise of global leaders in the DE&I arena, the series explored the challenges of talking about diversity and inclusion in a safe, open, and honest way and provided insights and resources for associates to learn together.

Training and professional development

Training

Training is an important part of developing and retaining our associates and creating a culture of leadership within the company. All new associates across our offices and facilities receive onboarding and an orientation to Where We Stand, our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. We require all of our associates to complete training concerning our ethical expectations and commitment to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. New hires also receive a training plan customized to their role and level within the organization that they complete over the first year of employment. As part of our standard onboarding program, associates take more than 10 hours of training covering our commitment to leadership, ethics and our values. We also train our associates on important environmental health and safety topics to help ensure we protect our people and our environment as we operate our business.

Professional development

We value associate growth and are committed to developing and nurturing our next generation of leaders. Development planning is critical to both the current and long-term success of our company. This ongoing process is meant to expand skills, increase knowledge and attain competence in specific behaviors to meet current performance expectations and prepare for potential future roles. We provide a variety of learning resources to our associates, including the following:

  • Business skills online courses
  • Onsite and virtual classroom events
  • Professional development events
  • External training programs based on individual needs
  • Business-led enterprise Leader learning events
  • Tuition assistance program
  • Additional virtual courses and webcasts as a result of COVID-19

The majority of learning happens on the job through cross-functional team assignments, expanded roles and rotational assignments. We also utilize an interpersonal learning strategy by leveraging both external and internal networks and establishing mentor relationships and/or formal coaching assignments.

Talent planning

We are committed to the assessment and development of talent to ensure professional growth and succession readiness. Our talent process focuses on determining what talent we need, what talent we have and establishing hiring and development plans to address the gaps. To identify our top talent, people leaders evaluate talent objectively using standard terminology focused on learning agility and overall performance. In addition, we define what good looks like for roles and use formal assessments to identify an individual’s strengths and development areas as well as readiness and fit for future roles. Development tools and experiences provided to our top talent include executive exposure, ongoing feedback and development discussions, as well as intentional promotions, rotational assignments and expanded roles.

We invest in our next generation of potential associates by providing internship opportunities across North America. Our mission is to cultivate the professional growth of students through a dynamic work environment. The program supports our business strategies by integrating interns into the organization and full-time pipeline while developing future enterprise leaders. Our goal is to convert rising seniors and graduate students into full-time roles upon their graduation.

Feedback

Continuous feedback supports our talent growth strategy by instilling trust, increasing transparency and developing enterprise leaders. Associates receive coaching and feedback based on their contribution toward annual goals in the areas of enterprise leadership, business projects and primary job responsibilities. Our continuous listening and feedback philosophy, Let’sChat!, promotes continuous dialogue at all levels of the organization. The proactive and ongoing communication about enterprise leader behaviors, goals, development plans and growth areas, is designed to help associates learn, grow and deliver results. To support our goals, we focus on engagement, building stronger relationships, improved productivity, encouragement of new ideas and increased associate satisfaction and retention. We end the year with a formal year-end performance management activity. Associates and managers complete a year-end summary and have a formal conversation. Both answer questions focused on accomplishments, opportunities, development and career aspirations and select an overall performance rating. This is followed by a conversation focused on successes, improvement areas, development plans and future goals.

LiveTotal Health

LiveTotal Health is a way of life for our associates and their families to attain their physical, financial and wellness best. By providing tools, resources, encouragement and support, we empower and motivate them to achieve success however they choose to define it. In 2006, ScottsMiracle-Gro launched LiveTotal Health, a groundbreaking initiative to help associates and families optimize their physical, financial and personal health. Because of our strong stance against tobacco use, the program was initially viewed as controversial in some circles. However, LiveTotal Health transformed our Scotts culture. It’s now a way of life emulated by other companies.

Caring for associates starts with benefit and compensation programs that value the contributions our associates make and offers physical, financial and personal health programs to associates and their families. We recognize financial stability is a critical component to our associates’ overall well-being. In addition to competitive pay, ScottsMiracle-Gro offers an industry-leading 401(k) match and other performance-based financial programs for our associates who are not incentive-eligible. 

During fiscal 2020, we experienced increased demand for many of our products, especially our soils, fertilizer, grass seed, controls and plant food products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This increased demand drove an increase in sales and profits that were not previously projected for the fiscal year. In light of these events and in recognition of the dedication and efforts of our associates during this challenging time, we made one-time cash payments of $500 and retirement contributions of $1,500 to our hourly and certain salaried associates who do not participate in our variable cash incentive compensation plans, along with providing increased variable payments to our salaried associates who participate in such plans. 

To reflect the changing needs of our associates and their families during the pandemic, we changed our benefits plans in 2020 to cover 100% of costs related to COVID-19 treatment and testing and expanded our sick and leave programs. We also set up onsite COVID-19 testing at our wellness center in Marysville and established company-paid COVID home testing kits to ensure that associates could have easy and convenient access to COVID-19 testing if or when needed. To ensure that our associates were as protected as possible, in 2020 only, we offered a $1,000 cash payment incentive for our hourly and non-incentive eligible salaried associates to get their flu shots by the end of November 2020. We are proud that 95% of our eligible associates received their flu shot for the 2020 flu season.

Our physical health programs, like our medical and dental coverage, help our associates to feel their best both on the job and at home. Normally, associates at our Marysville location and their families can take advantage of our wellness center, and we reimburse fitness club memberships for associates at other locations. However, due to COVID-19, our Fitness Services created a website that supports our associates through virtual training sessions, classes and fitness challenge events. Other personal benefits, like paid time off for volunteerism and adoption assistance, foster the culture of family and community we have at ScottsMiracle-Gro.

A newly launched cancer support program gives associates and their families access to resources to help them through the cancer experience as a patient or caregiver. this includes a dedicated, licensed social worker for personalized navigation and resource referrals, individualized one-on-one counseling and family sessions and educational material covering a broad range of cancer topics. Here are some additional highlights of our various efforts:

  • In late March 2020, we implemented a premium pay policy for our front line associates, equal to 50% of their hourly rate, in addition to overtime pay. We partnered with external medical experts to create an objective set of standards to make informed decisions around the application of premium pay, which was further informed by local data in the U.S and Canada. We provided premium pay to associates working in higher-risk areas.
  • To recognize our associates for their contributions to an exceptional year, we offered a special bonus as a one-time payment to our non-incentive eligible, regular full-time and part-time associates, including those designated as permanent seasonal employees in Canada. The bonus consisted of a one-time cash payment equal to $500 and a one-time special company retirement plan contribution equal to $1,500.
  • In 2019, we established an annual 401(k) profit-sharing matching program whereby if we reach or exceed profitability targets in a given year, certain u.S. associates not eligible for annual bonuses will receive a 401(k) profit-sharing matching contribution early the following year.
  • In 2021, we are increasing our retirement plan match for our Canadian associates.
  • Discount Stock Purchase Plan (DSPP)—We want to make ownership of ScottsMiracle-Gro stock a reality for as many of our associates as possible. We do this through our DSPP. The DSPP provides a unique opportunity for our associates to buy our Common Shares at a 15% discount, one of the most generous discounts in the industry. 

Improving our communities

Green Team

Our Green team’s mission is to inspire and empower our associates to grow a greener future through education and opportunities to be part of the solution. Founded more than a decade ago, this dedicated group of individuals champions sustainable practices and programs across the company. With more than 40 active members representing Corporate, R&D, and plant operations at our Marysville campus and throughout North America, the Green team has been instrumental in supporting many environmental initiatives. These include promoting the onsite food composting program, educating associates on sustainability topics and working with Facilities to implement several environmentally friendly projects in the past year. The Green team also continues to connect associates with environmental volunteering opportunities at nature preserves and community gardens.

Associate Garden

Since 2009, our associates have maintained vegetable gardens at company headquarters, utilizing our various growing products. Much of the produce grown in these gardens is donated to local food banks to provide fresh vegetables for healthy meals to our neighbors who lack them. To date, our associates have donated nearly 38,000 pounds of produce from these gardens. The Associate Garden is one of the most significant traditions on our campus. Although the garden initially started as a training ground for associates to get their hands dirty, try out our new innovations and learn first-hand how our products work, it also gave us the chance to give back to our local communities.

Like many people around the world, our traditions, including caring for the Associate Gardens, looked different this year due to the pandemic. We implemented COVID-19 precautions and social distancing measures to ensure safety during our planting day celebration, and we maintained those measures throughout the summer and during harvesting. Fortunately, COVID-19 did not impact our production or harvesting rates from the Associate Garden, and we were still able to donate our produce to our neighbors.

Give Back to Gro

Our commitment to giving back to our communities is an important element of our corporate culture. We support our associates in their efforts to give back to their communities through our Give back to Gro Associate Community Service program. Our associates serve as goodwill ambassadors of ScottsMiracle-Gro by volunteering with local community organizations. We offer two paid days off per year to all eligible associates to volunteer. In 2020, this totaled more than 94,000 hours. Our associates use this time to plant community gardens, build houses, mentor students and beautify their communities, among other causes. 

Associate Support Fund

Our Associate Board exists to improve morale and enrich the work environment for our associates. It does this by providing services, activities, education and social and volunteer opportunities. The Associate Board also provides multiple ways for our associates to extend and receive a helping hand. One way our associates support one another is through the Associate Board’s Green for Jeans program. This program directs support directly from associates to other associates who face hardship due to unexpected medical bills or family crises. Associates fund the program by paying a set fee in exchange for a badge that allows them to wear blue jeans to work. In 2020, this program provided $58,500 in grants to 22 associates in need. Since its inception, this fund has impacted more than 250 associates and generated more than $430,000 in associate contributions.

Hawthorne Contributions Committee

The Hawthorne Contributions Committee represents the Hawthorne Gardening company to its surrounding communities in a spirit of civic mindedness and generosity by serving as the point of contact for charitable contributions requests. Last year, Hawthorne associates contributed approximately $65,000 to a variety of local causes, including the Nevada City School for the Arts, Coquille Valley hospital, the YMCA, Grow Calgary, the Clark County Food Bank and multiple baseball and youth sports organizations. This committee’s 2021 goals include doubling community outreach and tripling employee engagement, in part by engaging manufacturing and warehouse associates, expanding its outreach across demographic segments and partnering with national charities. 

Learn more about how we are supporting our associates.