By BRIAN FIELKOW
Employees are often asked to support a charity adopted by the company’s executive.
In many cases, employees do contribute but without any meaningful connection created between them and the charity.
While the donations may be put to good use, the act of giving thus becomes more of an empty ritual.
As a CEO (chief executive officer), I strongly believe that every company has a role, big or small, in the greater community. And it’s important for leaders to consider new ways to foster a community connection for their company and employees as well.
When it comes to your community work, I challenge you to follow a different path in giving back.
For corporate participation in community activities to be truly meaningful to your entire company, employees must be engaged and enthusiastic.
Once employees become engaged, their participation creates a unique bond between the employees, the company and the community.
In addition, when members of your team give from the heart, contribution amounts may soar.
Here are suggestions aimed at engendering meaningful community participation.
1. Let employees take the wheel
Let a meaningful portion of the company’s community activities be employee-driven. This would be for the whole spectrum of endeavours, including any work with charities, youth sports, religious activities or fun runs.
A community programme that builds employee pride and corporate culture, and which inspires connection with the company should be as diverse as the employee base itself.
Let employees lead you to community events and don’t force anyone to participate in programmes devoid of meaning for them.
2. Involve staffers in your outreach efforts
In turn, bring your employees along, when you, as a company leader, become involved in a community event.
For example, if you’re passionate about the work of a local food bank, donate generously and invite your employees to do the same.
Stage a food drive or volunteer at the facility. Activities that stir excitement within your organisation and that simultaneously benefit a charity forge a company bond and a sense of mission.
3. Be active
Look for programmes that invite more than sheer monetary donation. Find a charity that lets employees participate, make a difference outside work and involve their families, too.
Some of these activities may become memorable events for your employees. You can’t put a price tag on the goodwill created when the company’s name is emblazoned on the soccer jersey of an employee’s child.
4. Switch things around
If you enjoy regularly donating to a certain organisation, keep on doing so. Continuity can instill pride and ownership.
At the same time, consider adding on a new cause each year. By giving attention to a variety of charities of interest to employees, more team members will become engaged.
Think about community service as a low-cost investment with tremendous payback.
Done right, the resulting connections that you promote within the company, employees and the community will drive pride and loyalty.
Brian is also owner and president of a logistics company in Houston. Send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Hard Talk articles, click here.
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com
Corporate culture and management advisor Brian is the author of “Driving to Perfection: Achieving Business Excellence by Creating a Vibrant Culture”, a book based on his 25 years of executive leadership experience.