Community Service Projects
It may come as a surprise to find that many job seekers take a company’s community service outreach programs into account when applying for and accepting jobs. Everything else being equal, a highly desirable job candidate could decide between your company and a competitor based on your work in the community. A recent Newsweek survey stated that nearly 76 percent of white collar workers said they would leave a company if their community service outreach program started to slip or was completely removed. Clearly volunteerism in the workplace is impacting employee recruitment and retention, and it may become more critical as employees move up in the workplace ranks.
Creating a community service outreach program can be a bit daunting. Where do we begin? How do we engage this process? A great place to begin community engagement is by simply reaching out to your local organizations. National and local Animal shelters, social service organizations, and health charities can be great resources to help you begin community engagement. Often, large organizations will have individual departments participate in pet projects throughout the year. Ideally, companies allow everyone the opportunity to donate to charities of their choosing, sometimes even using direct deposit from their paychecks.
This kind of community commitment from a business makes the employees feel proud to be associated with the company, and it also makes them feel better about their work personally. Volunteerism helps to build and promote a positive culture within a company and can also influence teamwork in the workplace. The more employees you can bring to a community service program, the bigger impact it will have, since those that participate are more likely to rate their job satisfaction as high.
Diverse community service projects do not need to be limited to large organizations, as smaller companies can have just as big of an impact, if not more so, within their communities. When employees put their job skills to good use in a volunteer capacity, there’s an opportunity for those employees to improve and exercise their workplace skills. In a new environment, employees get more creative, troubleshoot problems in different ways and gain additional skills that they might not have an opportunity to utilize within the office.
In a time of social media, it’s no surprise that customer perception has a huge impact on a business’s brand. Word of mouth has gone digital in a big way, and people aren’t just taking a company’s products and services into account. When companies show a commitment to their communities, customers notice.
Volunteerism helps to build and promote a positive culture within a company and can also influence teamwork in the workplace.
A company’s ethics, employee satisfaction, and community involvement are beginning to become important factors in which brand a consumer chooses. “The Reputation Institute” has reported that consumers give more weight to a company’s reputation than their products–at a rate of 60 percent to 40 percent, respectively. Additionally, 41 percent of consumer perception is based on three community service project related factors: citizenship, workplace, and governance.
The Walt Disney Company has had a stellar reputation for decades, not just because they bring smiles to the face of children with toys and movies, but because the company is deeply rooted in giving back. Volunteerism and philanthropy have long been a part of the company culture, and their genuine interest in improving the lives of as many people as possible is palpable. From their “Heroes Work Here” program that makes a commitment to hiring veterans and helping their families to creating one of the most substantial environmental policies.
It’s not just the customers that make up a community. Other businesses, local government and neighbors all take note of how active a company is in the community. Despite the presence of the internet, the health of a local community greatly influences the well-being of the businesses within it. Community service not only creates goodwill, it can improve a business’ prospects and employee recruitment by making the area a better place to live and work.
Yes, engaged employees generate more earnings for businesses. Yes, community service projects build a good reputation for a business. Yes, volunteer programs will give a business a leg up when it comes to hiring. But above all else, a community service project will help a business make a positive change in the lives of many people who aren’t tied at all to profit margins.