Real magic happens for organizations whose interests branch out beyond their physical walls and into the community around them. It creates a powerful “people connection” that benefits company team members as much as community members. It’s the perfect win-win.
So, what can YOU do to help create that community connection within your company? Let’s take a look!
- Create a ‘give back’ initiative. I love when companies get super creative with how they give back to their communities. One of my clients, Comcast chooses a day every year where their entire teams go out and service the community and they call it Comcast Cares. Everyone has a great time and serves a terrific cause. It can be simple ways, such as providing a meeting space for a local charity to congregate. Or allowing students or community members to come into your organization to learn more about what your team does and help them skill build.
- Encourage giving. Some of my clients do this by giving their employees one or two days per year dedicated to community service projects. Others have created awesome “matching” programs where they will match employee contributions to specific charities. I’ve also seen companies who create reward programs for employees who are community minded, honoring a different team member each month, for example, for their outreach initiatives. Or a combination of all the above might work for your team as well!
- Choose a charity. When I work with meeting planners, often they’ll choose a charity that is specific to the area in which the event is being held. For example, a national organization partnered with Habitat for Humanity after Hurricane Katrina and brought the organization’s team members down into the lower ninth ward to frame new houses during the rebuild of that devastated area. When I work with Trinity Health, they are wonderful about going out into the community where their event is and choosing a local charity based on needs. I know real estate organizations and credit unions that host annual coat drives for kids, or support their local food banks. Get creative, and choose a charity that feels right for your team.
- Invest skills. One idea that I find works fantastically is when organizations create programs to teach skills to members of the communities. For example, you might have a mentor program where interns can come in and learn necessary skills they’ll need to get jobs in your industry. Or it could be local moms who are eager to rejoin the work force but need to strengthen their skills before returning to the job market. Perhaps a youth-development program might work where you can work students from the local schools? What can you do to invest in the skills of the people around you?
- Provide internship opportunities. Take step four to the next level and create a true internship program that will help create future leaders. One of my clients, JKJ, which stands for Johnson, Kendall, Johnson, has a phenomenal mentoring and intern program. They are committed to creating and nurturing those valuable mentor/protégé relationships in their community. Providing safe, valuable learning environments is a great way to give back to your community and to brand your team as the company that cares enough to invest in the people around them. And that? Is good business.
I’d love to hear some of your ideas! Share them with us and let me know what YOUR team is doing to give back and how that has made a difference in your lives!
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