Put the company back in the RAH RAH!
RAH! RAH! SIS BOOM BAH! That’s the cheering of hundreds of employees wearing matching T-shirts, carrying brooms and paint brushes as they clean up a school.
THUD! Now that’s the sound of that same company’s community investment program a week after its all-hands volunteer day.
Why the thud you ask. Didn’t everyone feel great standing back to admire their handy work? Didn’t they just know, in their heart of hearts, that the kids at that school would know that someone cared about them and enter the school with a smile. Maybe, bolstered by the new cheery environment, even pay attention to the teacher more.
Well, yes those thoughts were had on the volunteer day. But a week later when the T-shirt is in the donation pile for the next Goodwill run, the employees’ uplift from the volunteer day is gone. And so is the boost to the kids’ morale.
Why didn’t the volunteer day achieve all the organizers dreamed? The company made a classic mistake: it put employee enthusiasm above all.
Of course, employee enthusiasm is incredibly important. But it’s not the only important thing. When community programs separate the RAH RAH from who they are as a company, they lose impact.
Companies need to focus on what they do best – what they do that makes them money. Then they need to put this through a community lens.
By focusing on community issues that companies have expertise in and solutions for, the company can bring a greater number and more effective resources to tackle the problem. The company can work with non-profit partners to develop well designed programs with impact because the company knows what questions to ask and has its own failures and successes in overcoming the issue to draw from.
The impact will only be tangible and lasting if the community issue at stake is one employees know something about and have skills to address – one that is a strategic business issue. The company can then apply the expert knowledge and abilities of its employees through one-off volunteering opportunities or, in order to have even more impact, through ongoing strategic volunteering as part of a specific community program.
A community investment program that joins the enthusiasm of employees with to the know-how of the company to tackle business relevant social issues is a powerful program. A program that will make a difference.
Stop separating and start fusing! The company, employees, and community will all be better off.
Want to continue the conversation?
Join our webinar to learn why creating a sound strategy goes hand-in-hand with addressing your internal culture. Corporate Citizenship’s Megan DeYoung and Realized Worth’s Chris Jarvis will show you how aligning your community and business strategies will reignite your community program, creating a mobilized workforce and maximum community impact.