Since starting my internship with the Southend Business and Community Charter I’ve had a chat with a number of small business owners that are really passionate about engaging with the local community and clearly demonstrating it is of real importance to them as an individual. However the thing I’ve found interesting (if not a little worrying!) is that employees aren’t encouraged to get involved with what the business is doing for the community. Not only would there be a bigger impact on the community if all staff were involved but it can also have significant benefits for your business.
How can getting your staff involved in community projects help your business?
In the corporate world it is being commonly acknowledged that allowing staff to get actively involved within community projects can have a positive effect on employee motivation, engagement and morale –so why can’t us small businesses get the benefits too? An insightful study, ‘The Values Revolution’, discovered that 44% of employees believed that doing meaningful work was more important to them than a higher salary and 36% would even work harder if their employers benefitted society. This research highlights the shift in society where values are becoming incredibly important to everyone, including your staff! Businesses that want to succeed in a values driven world must start at the core of the business and weave it into everything the business does, so it’s extremely important for staff to be completely on board with everything that the business and owner are doing for the community.
The theory that employee engagement and motivation is increased when they are participating in community projects is no myth, it is widely supported by extensive research –admittedly these studies have taken place in a corporate environment but facts are facts! In fact business literature has demonstrated that the more community involvement an employee has then the more motivated they are in their job. Not only this but it can involve the ideal team building activities that actually make a difference to people plus many added bonuses; business reputation, motivated employees, competitive advantage and a thriving local community.
Big corporate companies invest heavily into these areas but don’t be put off by thinking that your business is too small to get involved, every business can do their little bit and reap the benefits! From personal experience it can be the really little things, for example, in a previous role we had a ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ and had to donate a £1 for wearing it and for such little involvement it really created a buzzing atmosphere in the workplace.
What can my business do to get all employees involved in a community project?
The brilliant thing about this is that it can pretty much be anything and everything! Be as creative as your want and here are a few examples to inspire you for your business and your employees…
- The Mercury Theatre in Colchester is currently in rehearsals for a production of ‘Educating Rita’ and are in need of as many books as possible to fill up book shelves for their set. Maybe your business could simply set up a table in the office and ask for any unwanted books to be brought into work? So simple but can get everyone involved!
- Similarly a collection of old clothes, shoes and blankets can be collected at work for groups such as Harp that provide for the homeless in Southend-On-Sea
- A fundraising event is a traditional way of getting everyone involved –but they work! A party, raising money and engaging employees so you really can’t lose.
- Work as a team to get sponsored whether it’s a marathon, sponsored silence (not so good at work), ‘Movember’, bike ride, horse ride… etc etc
- Just let them be part of the decision process involving anything in the community and really work as a team!
If you aim to do this or are currently involved within the Southend Community then feel free to contact me to get recognised for your achievements and potentially get an award! To get in touch email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07910409223