Community Involvement is an important aspect of an employer’s culture and brand, contributing to much more than good will. With an effective strategy, your organization can improve its reputation, attract candidates, and retain existing employees. In this blog, we will take you through the necessary steps to develop and execute a community involvement strategy that aligns to your organization’s priorities and resonates with your audience.
Written by Brooke White, Sr. Employer Brand Specialist
Developing and Executing A Community Involvement Strategy
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” Howard Zinn
According to the 2019 Community Involvement Study, organizations today are committed to community involvement initiatives more than ever, and for good reason! Research indicates that community involvement at an organizational level contributes to much more than good will - including reputation improvement, candidate attraction, and the retention of existing employees.
Statistics at a Glance:
- 95% of companies surveyed have a community involvement strategy or are in the process of setting one up. (Boston College).
- 95% of companies report a positive correlation between volunteer program participation and high employee engagement scores. (Boston College)
- 75% of job seekers consider it important to work for a company that supports charitable causes or gives back to a community. (Jobvite).
ALIGNING TO ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITIES
To make your community involvement initiatives impactful, they need to connect with your organization’s purpose and mission. By taking this approach, you provide a clear understanding of the “why” behind your initiatives, resulting in employees and candidates that trust your motives as being genuine, and feel inspired and motived to get involved.
According to Boston College, companies are already adopting this approach. In the their 2019 Study, over 80% of organizations report aligning social issues addressed in their community involvement efforts with their business priorities.
“Achieving real alignment, where strategy, goals, and meaningful purpose reinforce one another, gives an organization a major advantage because it has a clearer sense of what to do at any given time, and it can trust people to move in the right direction. The result is an organization that can focus less on deciding what to do—and more on simply doing. Some organizations make all of the links, so that vision, strategy, and goals come together to become meaningful work. In so doing they instill a sense of achievement that, in turn, enables their people to achieve more and more.” (McKinsey)
HOW TO GET STARTED
If you don’t already have a community involvement strategy, we’ve provided some tangible steps your organization can take to get started.
Your Community Involvement Strategy should start with your organization’s vision, values and mission statement. While reviewing these key messages, identify themes and social issues you can address with your organization’s existing priorities.
For example, if you’re a healthcare organization with a mission to heal and promoting wellness, consider providing free educational workshops at your community library on how to prevent illness through healthy lifestyles. An initiative like this would help your organization fulfill its mission and would be easy to implement with existing resources.
Reach out to employees and identify individuals who are passionate about giving back to the community, and invite them to form a committee. Spend some time to bring them up to speed on priorities, set expectations around resources (budget and time), and let them run with it! You’ll likely have employees who already volunteer on their personal time, so this should come naturally to them.
When identifying the initiatives you’d like to include in your strategy, it’s best to start with low hanging fruit. Once you’ve gained traction with employees, you can start to slowly introduce more, and larger initiatives to the strategy. Some examples of initiatives that are easy to implement can include:
- Office fundraisers like collection jars and dress down days
- Participating in pre-existing donation banks and drives
- A paid “Volunteer Day” where employees can choose from a list of organized activites
- Office bake sales where proceeds are donated
- A tree planting or garbage pick-up day
- A bike or walk-a-thon to promote wellness
- Connecting employees with pre-established non-profit organizations
Now that you have some initiatives in the calendar, make sure you take advantage of them! Take a bunch of photos and encourage your employees to do the same. These initiatives should be a fun opportunity to step away from employees’ day-to-day work to connect with colleagues and do something meaningful for the community – and we want to promote that. Share these photos and stories on social media and leverage content for your career website so candidates can get a feel for your culture.
BRINGING IT TO LIFE THROUGH YOUR CAREER SITE
This is where we come in! Online job boards and employer career sites remain the top two places for candidates to actually submit their applications, which means they’re the ideal place to promote what you’re doing in the community.
Through our solutions, we work with your team to embed employer brand and culture content (like community involvement) both on your website, and in job descriptions to educate, persuade, and convert candidates.