I recently attended a session about employee volunteering led by Bea Boccalandro, sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley. While many companies have had volunteering programs for a long time – perhaps providing paid time off to volunteer, creating volunteer opportunities during work hours, team building with service projects, etc. – this topic was more cutting edge and centered on Corporate Community Involvement.
When people connect their work with a purpose and have the ability to use his or her specific skills beyond their position, magic happens. This is because we are wired with the need to wake up every morning and live with a purpose. When this need is met, we are able to do some pretty amazing things, because we know why. In fact, according to a recent study by United Health Group, Doing Good is Good for You, when this need is met our bodies actually pay us back physically and we are healthier overall.
There are some good examples of corporate brands with a clear purpose or community stance that make employees, and even customers, want to connect, give back and be loyal to the brand:
- TOMS – One for One movement – the company gives back with every single purchase, giving a pair of shoes to those in need for every pair purchased.
- HP – Living Progress – the initiative promises to “bring together people and technology to help solve society’s toughest challenges.” HP gives of its skills and technology do good for the community.
- Verizon – HopeLine – dedicated to ending domestic violence. Since 2001, over 10 million phones have been collected nationwide and donated to in need domestic violence survivors.
While there are early adopters, it will take some time for the masses to get on board. Those that do, however, will most definitely have the competitive edge – with performance, with engagement and loyalty from both customers and employees, and with attracting top talent. Because we know employees today are looking for much more than just a job out of their employers.
Community organizations are starting to look to businesses for skills-based volunteers. Having access to high value skills such as technology, marketing, analytics, HR and finance, for example, enables a nonprofit organization to have an even bigger impact in their respective communities. CBE Companies participates in the Partner in Volunteerism Program through the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley. Programs like this need their business partners to step up and support expansion and promotion of using volunteers in different ways. This next level of corporate community involvement will not only create happier employees, it will create corporate-community partnerships that will change the world.