All the responsibilities and complexities of our daily routines leave little extra time for just about anything nowadays. As a result, activities like volunteering and community service initiatives are often for “next time,” when things aren’t quite so busy, which rarely comes around anymore. On top of the tremendous importance and benefits of supporting our local communities, and changing the lives of those in need, implementing a plan for social responsibility can also breathe new life into your workplace. As individuals, being an active participant in the betterment of our local communities is a responsibility that we all share. But shouldn’t it also be the responsibility of corporations and businesses to serve the communities in which they produce and sell? And what if opportunities to give back to the community were incorporated into the core business strategies of our workplaces?
Since Michael Porter and Mark Kramer published “Creating Shared Value” in the Harvard Business Review, a growing number of organizations are now making strides to generate economic value in a way that also produces value for society by addressing its challenges. Not only can a shared value approach reconnect company success with social progress, but “it could also drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy as it opens managers’ eyes to immense human needs that must be met, large new markets to be served, and the internal costs of social deficits.” And we’ve only begun to graze the benefits and value of giving back to the community, especially as it corresponds to improvements in the workplace. Here are 3 big ways community service can transform your workplace:
1) Attract & retain top employees
Recognizing the importance and need for supporting our local communities, more and more individuals are making community involvement a necessary requirement in their job search. Prospective employees appreciate connecting with organizations based on shared values. If you don’t have a plan for social responsibility in your business, you might be missing out on some top talent.
2) Reduce employee stress levels & improve health
We all have an idea of what employee burnout looks like, whether you’ve experienced it yourself or seen it first-hand, and let’s agree that it’s not good for any party involved. When employees have the opportunity to temporarily break away from their high-stress, monotonous routines, they are much more likely to return to their responsibilities refreshed and recharged. And did you know that community service promotes better health? The Corporation for National & Community Service published a report, "The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research," which found that participating in community service activities offers health benefits, including decreased depression rates, increased sense of purpose, and even longer life.
3) Team building & talent discovery
Allowing for employees to interact with their fellow team members, especially across different departments in which they don’t normally work with, is an invaluable team building opportunity – all while serving together and making a positive impact in your community. Through your team collaboration, you may also discover that your team members have undiscovered skills outside of the scope of their current roles, such as relationship building, training, project management, problem solving, etc. Community service can also significantly improve the way businesses are perceived in the community, positively positioning your business in the minds of customers – which is becoming more important than ever before as competition grows. In a study conducted by Cone Communications and Echo Research, an astounding 82% of consumers in the United States consider social responsibility when determining where to shop and which products and services to purchase. Perhaps you’ve been looking for opportunities to serve and are having trouble figuring out how you or your business can get involved in your community? Visiting your local chamber of commerce is a great place to learn about the most urgent needs and opportunities to serve. If you have time to offer, some great ways to serve include: building a house (Habitat for Humanity), tutoring, promoting local businesses, visiting local seniors, organizing clothing drives, etc. If you’re short and time but want make a financial donation, consider: participating in food drives, sponsoring an event, donating directly to a charity, sponsoring youth sports teams, etc. Here at Dynavistics, we love to help fight hunger in our Tampa Bay community. Over the last several years, we have had the privilege of working with Meals on Wheels and Feed the Bay to feed hungry seniors and families in need, making a difference in their lives and bringing our team closer together. Unfortunately, the one recurring justification for lack of community participation is time. Let’s overcome this challenge and make an impact in our communities across the globe, together. For business professionals - explore opportunities to get involved in your community, and encourage your businesses to join the movement to create shared value through your organization. For business owners – provide your teams with opportunities to serve, and see first-hand the increases in employee retention, team building and impact your business will have in your community and with your customers.