YX Genomics and its 94 employees have a unique business model in the Memphis market.
The company allows genetic researchers to outsource some of the lab work to it, enabling those researchers to focus on their science. Simply, YX Genomics has created a fully automated mouse genetic testing system to service researchers from around the world.
The company started with its first commercial test in April 2004. It recently celebrated its 12 millionth biopsy, and now runs between 2 million and 2.5 million samples a year.
But as the company has seen significant growth over the past 12 years, an important focus from the start has been on the community. YX Gives Back is an employee driven and led program that encourages employees to find opportunities to plug into the community in a number of ways.
It all comes down to a simple philosophy. Company Co-founder Bob Bean said his perspective comes from the view that work doesn’t make people whole. Rather, while work is important, it’s only a part of who people are. He wants employees to have a more balanced life.
“Whatever our work is, it is only part of who we are. The relational part of who we are, who we are with family, friends and associates.... I believe you have these spheres of humanity that exist in all of us,” he said.
“I think people who live more balanced lives are better employees,” he continued. “We’re not doing this because we’re great people. But we do make a difference in other people’s lives when we give ourselves an opportunity.”
YX Gives Back works in three spheres: the local Memphis community, Research and Industry Association, and Global Reach.
Locally, YX Genomics partners with Cornerstone Prep Lester Campus in Binghampton and Treadwell Elementary’s Dual Language Immersion Optional program- the only one of its kind in Shelby County.
At Cornerstone Prep, YX Gives Back supports the school in its efforts to promote literacy and create an academic environment that allows students to reach their full potential. YX Genomics employees sponsor classrooms, which includes reading to children in 30-minute blocks and allow for employees to deliver cupcakes once a month to celebrate the children’s birthdays.
At Treadwell, the company is involved in cultural events at that school’s Dual Language Immersion Optional program. The school has students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. With close to a 50-50 make-up of students who come from Spanish-speaking and English-speaking backgrounds, every child is immersed in a second world language in every single subject while being paired with classmates who are native speakers of that language. YX Genomics’ work as a community adopter gives it the opportunity to encourage, support and empower students to achieve academic and social goals in a multicultural society where bilingualism is becoming a more valuable asset.
Employees also volunteer at the Mid-South Food Bank in its Senior Nutrition Program. Employees help package boxes of prepared foods through the No Hungry Senior collaboration that provides a weekly box of food for seniors 60 and older.
YX Gives Back also partners with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in annual fundraisers and blood/plasma donations to bring awareness to the hospital.
Other teams do various projects such as participate in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon weekend as individuals or teams as well as the YMCA Corporate Games, which gives employees the chance to have fun, compete and raise money for the organization. And, Bean is quick to point out, the company has won first place in their division both of the past two years, its only two as participants.
YX Genomics supports Research and Industry Associations like Homes for Animal Heroes, a National Animal Interest Alliance Initiative to bring awareness to the value of animals that are used in research. The program helps retired research animals find homes while also educating about the purpose of study animals.
YX Gives Back partners with other organizations to support the AALAS Foundation, helping the Foundation focus on educating the public as it relates to Animals in Research and the Work of Lab Animal Science Professionals.
Finally, the company’s Global Reach focuses on the Dreamland Orphanage in Maharashtra, India, where YX Genomics underwrites the all-boy orphanage that is home to nearly 70 children. Employees can choose to sponsor the orphanage through payroll deductions and the company matches dollar for dollar.
It’s important to note that everything is employee-led so that efforts mirror actual interests and passions. And, while some companies encourage employees to participate in the community with service requirements, YX Genomics makes it part of the culture without any hours guidelines.
“There is service encouragement to say these are opportunities available to you,” said Christine Essary, the employee and strategic development manager for YX Genomics. “We have constant communication to let employees know where to show up and how to get plugged in. … Many larger corporations have required hours or set days. For us it works on an honor system and it’s strictly voluntary, I think that keeps the passion alive. We have a high percentage of employees participate in the program. People connect to things they want to, not the things they have to.”
She said when the company begins relationships with potential employees during the hiring process, they often share the message of community involvement early on.
“One way we know we partner with the right people is when we share the same values,” she said. “we know when we give back to the employees they will give back to customers. Candidates sometimes say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe you set up an organization that allows for giving of your time during the work day and that it’s an important part of your day, your week, your quarter.’”
And while the company provides an opportunity for its employees, it also serves as an example for the corporate community of how to serve. Bean is quick to go back to the simple idea that engaged and happy employees make for productive ones.
“Creating things like this with good employees will only enhance their commitment to the company and its overall mission,” he said. “People don’t work for money. We all have to have money but people really work for significance and to feel like what they do matters. As a business owner, let yourself realize that giving employees the opportunity to participate in something like this, it engages the rest of their mood to be a better employee.”
YX Genomics Holding Corp is headquartered in Cordova, TN and has three wholly owned subsidiaries. It consists of Transnetyx, YX Services, and Robotyx. YX Genomics serves the laboratory animal research industry and provides laboratory consulting through an established, accurate, and cost effective methodology. Learn more here: www.yxgenomics.com