Getting your company actively engaged in your community brings a lot of great perks. It increases brand awareness, attaches your brand to a positive image, and it works toward ensuring your employees (and clients, if you have a local client base) have a great community to live, work, and thrive within.
Businesses are a vital piece of our community, too, and it’s difficult to be insulated and operate within a bubble. The education available through community engagement affects our future workforce. The cultural experiences available affect our employees’ quality of life – and the ability to recruit out of area employees. The overall economic picture affects your ability to grow your business among local clients. While the community is made-up of much more than just the business community, it is vital that we as businesses operate holistically and understand that we cannot work in a vacuum.
Engenius has been community-driven from day one, and there are five key areas we’ve focused on for community involvement:
1. Encourage employees to be on boards. Time for key company leaders and executives is limited – and there are fewer of them than employees as a whole. By encouraging and supporting board involvement for employees, you can spread a wider net and stay engaged with community needs, keeping an eye on the pulse of local happenings. Additionally, the connections gained and leadership experience developed from board service will aid your company far into the future.
2. Participate in leadership initiatives. There are many great leadership programs in existence. Here in our backyard, Leadership Greenville is a premier program that I can attest is one of the best in the country for teaching budding community leaders the needs and inner-workings of our entire community ecosystem. The connections gained through this program are great – but even better is the wisdom and perspective your company gains through each participant’s experience.
3. Find creative ways to ‘give back’. Engenius is a leading web design and digital marketing firm. Early on we saw this as a huge need within the nonprofit community and started our annual grants program. We select one or two deserving nonprofits in our community to give top-notch websites, marketing consulting, and website support. Using our existing skills and bandwidth helped pave the way for us to give back, and further engaged our employees with the organizations and causes we care about.
4. Engage within your sector. Chances are strong you’re not the only company doing what you do in your community. You might do it in a unique way, but there are plenty of other companies with similar set-ups, operations, or even within your broader sector. Engage with them. Most sectors have industry-specific groups to network with your peers, learn something, and gain valuable connections for the future. If you don’t have this group for your sector, consider creating one – whether formal or informal.
5. Be a great place to work. When businesses think about supporting their community, they often overlook the fact that by just being a good company they are already giving back. Providing jobs and a tax-base is as valuable a contribution to our local ecosystem as anything else. Going a step further, make sure those jobs are good jobs that promote employee satisfaction, professional development, and an atmosphere that leaves them feeling fulfilled. Jobs are one thing; jobs that make a difference in people’s lives are truly a contribution to the community as a whole.
We keep our team happy with plenty of caffeine and sugar
No matter how you do it, get your company engaged with your community. It doesn’t require you to be a huge firm with hundreds of employees. Even relatively small teams with a dozen or so employees can make a mark – and Engenius is evidence of that. It will lead to a stronger team, a closer connection with your local clients and vendors, and ensure the community you call home is stronger and more vibrant for years to come.