Bob Hottman, CEO of EKS&H, uses a four-pronged approach to make sure him, his company, and his employees are well invested in the local community. Hear what he has to say in this short video about community engagement for executives.
Find more short videos from the Return on Values Project.
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Five Questions to Explore Your Own Community Engagement Philosophy
After watching the video above, work through the following questions on your own or with your senior leadership team to establish your company’s philosophy toward community engagement, especially at the executive levels:
- What community engagement is good or necessary for us to be successful in our business?
While some community engagement is purely philanthropic, companies can often point toward other acts of engagement in the community that enable networking that is profitable to the core business of the firm. For example, engaging with local universities who train students in your field may help you identify talented new employees. Take a minute to list the areas in which your leadership team is already engaged, or should be engaged, in order to maintain important connections.
- What community engagement is good for our reputation?
Some acts of community engagement may not have a direct payback to the organization, but do position your firm as a respected member of the community. This may inadvertently help you strengthen community and media relations. In a small business, sponsoring a local little league is one example. In a bigger business, helping pack backpacks for back-to-school season is another example.
- Where can we truly make a difference in our community?
Now we look more directly at altruistic forms of community engagement, including volunteering or board participation.Where are the strengths of your leaders needed in local or national non-profits? For example, your chief operations officer might be able to contribute insights to a midsize non-profit, helping them find strategic new ways to use resources or develop supply chains.Where does the expertise of your firm give you a unique opportunity to contribute to the community? Your firm’s expertise in technology, health care, food services, consulting, transportation, etc., can have a direct impact on a non-profit.
- How much is the right amount of engagement?
In the above video, Bob Hottman shares how he invests 20 percent of his time in community engagement. In a large firm with many leaders, that intensive level of investment may be possible. Twenty percent may be too high a number for other firms. What is the right level of investment for you? How can you be generous with your time without neglecting the core responsibility to your company?
- How can we help our people engage in the community?
Up to this point, we’ve explored the role of the senior team in community engagement. Many companies also offer paid time off for employees who wish to volunteer in their community. Others host an annual day of community service, where teams of employees make a fast and impactful contribution to a non-profit.CEOs who have formal employee volunteerism programs report this “perk” pays off: it improves employee morale and helps build strong, connected teams. How can you help your employees become active in the community around them?
Want to explore these questions more? We encourage you to watch our short video, “Worth the Time: Corporate Benefits of Community Service.”