Fostering Community Involvement in Corporate Culture
by Laura Brinkman
Many companies claim to include community engagement in their core values, but few actually achieve the consistency and dedication required to build a culture fostered in community involvement. It cannot be merely mentioned in your core values, or delivered during the holidays. It has to be a commitment lived day in and day out, with a mission of shared understanding of importance. The more you build community outside of the office, the more it will develop inside the office, creating a culture of teamwork and selflessness. Employees bound together by shared experiences and a shared commitment to service feel more invested in their workplace and purposeful in their roles. In order to foster and sustain a company culture that gives back, you must have a plan. The following are starting points to use when developing your community involvement plan.
Develop the Vision
In order to create an environment that is service minded, you must first make sure that the company’s values and goals align with that vision. Developing a vision that reflects the value and importance of community involvement, and building it into the tenants of the company’s beliefs means that employees will know that it as part of the company’s foundation. That vision will remain part of a growing organization and help ensure you do not lose steam or motivation to be involved in service projects and volunteering.
Make Opportunities Available
Allowing employees the freedom and flexibility to volunteer is the largest way to garner participation. Send out bi-weekly e-mails about upcoming service projects and encourage people to attend. Organizing upcoming projects and communicating that to employees helps your team plan ahead. Having a variety of opportunities that interest and attract different people will develop more support and involvement.
Support from Senior Leadership
As with anything, a service minded culture cannot sustain involvement without support from senior leadership. If employees know that leadership believes in its importance, supports the efforts, and is involved themselves, employees will feel that importance as well. They will feel more encouraged to participate if they know that their management is doing the same.
Team up with a Non-Profit Organization
Having a partnership with a local non-profit organization that sets up volunteer projects will make it easier to participate. In a partnership you’ll know what to expect, who to go to for questions, and where to seek assistance. Additionally, partnering with an organization creates more positive reflection of your company in the community.
At the end of the day, having the opportunity to serve and aid others benefits everyone involved. Those that serve the community feel a stronger sense of pride in their own community, and a larger sense of purpose in their own lives. When we volunteer our time, our efforts, and our talents we are truly investing in the community and others. Doing this in the workplace as a team can increase loyalty and purpose to the values the organization was built on. It doesn’t matter if the plan is perfect, it just matters that you have one and stick to it.