Over the course of my 30+ year career I’ve come to discover something quite simple, yet profound. One of my greatest senses of purpose has been achieved through the act of giving my time to our community.
I’ve had the privilege of being on many great organizations’ boards and committees over the years, including the NWTC Financial Advisory Board, the Boy Scouts of America, as past president of the Kiwanis Club of Green Bay and more recently, with Brown County’s Volunteer Center and the Salvation Army of Brown County. And let me tell you, these organizations are making an immensely positive impact in this place we love to live and work. I am proud to have put my hand in among the circle of volunteers who all make change happen.
Through this experience, I have seen firsthand how employer-sponsored community involvement not only positively affects the volunteers themselves, but also leaves a lasting impact on the workplace. If your company hasn’t yet developed a program, now is the time!
So, where to start? Your company might consider sponsoring programs, encouraging staff to personally take part in external volunteer events or develop a full-fledged community involvement program that empowers your staff to give of their time with a set number of paid volunteer hours during the work day.
But why should volunteerism become a priority? Internally, the positive effects of an active community involvement program are three-fold.
- It helps demonstrate and remind your associates of your company’s values by showing them in action. At American National Bank, one of our core values is Servant Leadership, so it’s essential that we live out that value by meeting the needs of others first.
- It helps your staff members build and deepen relationships—because it’s not until we step outside of the office and spend time together working toward a common cause that we can fully appreciate one another and bond as a team.
- And, it will most definitely result in happier employees. Studies show happy, satisfied employees are more hard-working, dedicated and passionate about their work. They’re willing to go above and beyond for their company because they feel a strong sense of belonging.
There are external benefits as well, of course.
- When we dedicate time in our communities, we’re able to meet others and build relationships outside of our own organizations, providing new resources and bridging new opportunities.
- Active volunteerism programs are also a big plus if you’re looking to hire. Potential new employees, especially Millennials, are very attracted to companies that give back.
- It also boosts brand awareness and brings in new customers. More and more customers these days are putting their dollars where their hearts are. A recent study shows that 68% of people polled agreed giving back to the community is an attribute they find most important (PR Newswire).
Now that you know the “why” behind employer-sponsored community involvement, the only question that remains is this: when will you start?