Last August I began to work for a facilities maintenance company that has recently begun to stretch and grow like Bruce Banner caught in a gamma bomb explosion. It's pretty amazing.
Rooted in the very same community where the founder and president of the company was born and raised, good corporate citizenship is a pillar of the company's values. Over the years, public works like landscaping and maintenance of the little league field and library grounds, and construction of a retaining wall for a no kill animal refuge have marked just some of the good it has done for the community.
This year's idea to help make a beautiful area even a little more green and oxygenated through giving away 1000 tree seedlings was not only reflective of the company logo and name... it grew into something so much more.
As the concept developed, other activities were incorporated into the agenda like heavy equipment demonstrations, the opportunity for children to climb into equipment and vehicles (lots of horn honking went on!), environmental crafts, face painting, and a demonstration on how to plant and care for the seedlings. This social gathering was created without barriers for anyone who wanted to join in. The entire event, including snack and beverage stations, was sponsored by the company and carried out by the staff for the community.
It was a big hit with the many hundreds of children and families who attended! So much so, that it is now slated to grow into an annual tradition - even bigger and better.
Reflecting on the preparation leading up to the event and the day itself, I have some additional takeaways that in my mind equal and perhaps surpass the intended purpose.
- The coordination of the event provided a corporate team building opportunity for field and corporate staff to work on a project side by side. Many were able to put a face to a name for the very first time and working relationships were developed and deepened.
- There is no doubt that the children that attended were left with indelible impressions of the greatness of front-end loaders, tri-axles, and other very large heavy equipment and vehicles. Girls and boys without distinction. And you know they loved playing in the dirt. With the news that this will now be an annual event, I'm considering this a talent pipeline development event and thinking of summer camp type activities for older children to learn about landscaping, and ways to keep them engaged with the company.
- Several adult attendees filled out paper job applications onsite and I handed my business card out to several more interested in sending me their resumes.
- Networking over ice cream and kids building cereal bird feeders even resulted in leads for the sales team.
- Pre and post-event promotion resulted in more likes and follows, inquisitiveness about the company and growth of our online social community.
- The community's perceived (and indeed bonafide) value of the company's corporate citizenship went up several notches to be certain. The phenomenal feedback received proves it.
- The collective staff endorphin rush at the end of the day after high praise from the boss - well, you can't really put a value on that.
No matter what type of business you're in, or what size your company is, the benefits of finding the right real world community engagement activity can provide significant added value to your business strategy.
I would love to here what your company is doing in the community in the comments!