Last year at this time, I discussed how giving back to the communities where we work is a key tenet of Emtec’s company values. We at Emtec believe our success carries with it the responsibility to help others succeed in their lives.
At Emtec our mission is to create “Clients for Life” by partnering to deliver services that add rapid, meaningful, and lasting business value. In essence, we grow alongside our clients. And, the close working relationships we develop make each of us better. I believe that same benefit can come from volunteering.
One Day Can Make a Difference
And so, I want to encourage companies everywhere to consider a Day of Service in your community. In much the same way business success is closely tied to the health of our clients; our country’s strength is tied to the health of our cities and towns. Getting out and making something positive happen connects us to the communities in which we live.
Volunteering isn’t good only for the community, it’s good for employees. They have a chance to grow by gaining a sense of purpose linked to altruism. Painting a classroom wall or cleaning a vacant lot make a visible difference – and give a sense of physical accomplishment knowledge workers often miss.
Projects also give employees another outlet for developing team building and communication skills. Exposure to experiences outside their daily lives can spur new ways of thinking and problem-solving.
Associates in our Chicago office have worked on Habitat for Humanity builds where they’ve done drywall, painting, roofing and landscaping for several years. Christie Koza who’s helped organize the Emtec team, enjoys service days because she “gets to know Associates from other parts of the company I’d usually not get a chance to meet. That makes working together on a project a little more special.”
The Emtec team has actually returned to the same neighborhood in North Chicago, Illinois over the years. “Part of the Habitat model is to have the prospective owners work on the house as well”, noted Koza. “So it’s been really rewarding to get to see them living in the houses we worked on together”. Another volunteer, Howard Hohnsen, appreciates “the chance to make positive changes in the lives of people who are striving to make their own lives better”.
To make it easy for teams of employees to get involved in their communities, many non-profits and organizations have created serve-a-thon programs. Examples include:
- BostonCares (http://www.bostoncares.org/HOC__Affiliate_Home_Page) works with over 100 non-profit agencies for their Corporate Volunteer Day each May. service projects have ranged from beautification efforts at public parks to fixing up youth facilities. Similar groups exist in Chicago and New York. View a video of how BostonCares works with a grade school in Jamaica Plains. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vir2eCeucOc)
- Hands-on Atlanta (http://www.handsonatlanta.org/makeadifferenceday2012) participates in National Make a Difference Day, on the 4th Saturday of October. This year 310 volunteers worked on 11 different projects that represented an economic impact of $20,244. See Hands-on Atlanta in action. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3IBrFFt6ys)
- 9/11 Day (http://www.911day.org/) pays tribute to the victims of the September attack and honors the men and women who’ve served our country in response. This year volunteers worked with veterans on service projects in NYC, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas/Ft Worth and Minneapolis.
- President Obama, continuing a tradition he started at his first inauguration, has called for a national day of service on January 19 which will also honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.
If you can’t find a Serve-a-thon in your area, check out the Hands-on Network (http://www.handsonnetwork.org/actioncenters/map) or All for Good (http://www.allforgood.org/) to find a local group that can arrange a corporate day of service for you.
I applaud companies everywhere who share the belief that business should look beyond the bottom line and be a force for good. We’ve seen that philosophy bear fruit at Emtec. Our employees are proud to part of an organization that gives back and supports them in their community involvement. They are more motivated and feel more empowered by volunteering. And we as a company are made stronger by fulfilling our responsibilities as corporate citizens.
PS – Early in the new year, Emtec will work on a volunteer project – so check back later to hear from our Associates about what they did and what they learned.