Why Serving Your Community Can Grow Your Business
• Engaging in community service builds a positive reputation, encourages staff retention and loyalty, and amplifies core values.
• Serving your community may help you hire and retain employees who are a better culture fit—younger generations of jobseekers want to find fulfillment in their work.
• When picking partners for community engagement, choose those that align with your company’s core values and areas of expertise.
• Businesses should be creative in their approach and enjoy participating in projects that get them excited.
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Running a small business requires dedication and time. But have you ever considered the benefits of community service? It may seem like one more thing to add, but research shows that helping your community can actually support your business goals. Serving your community helps boost your reputation, retain top talent, and create a more positive workplace. Keep reading to discover more about the power of giving back to your community.
Change How the Community Sees Your Business
Business owners start up because they want to solve a problem or fulfill a need in the community. However, once you’re up and running, making a profit often becomes the top priority. When this happens, members of the community may see you as someone who is just there to make a buck.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and organizations stepped up to serve their community and live out their core values. Entrepreneur magazine reported that during the shutdown, After-School-All-Stars, a national nonprofit that runs after school programs, tuned into the needs of their local communities and started providing meals, distance learning, and mental health support for students and families.
You don’t need an economic crisis to show up for your community. You can demonstrate your company’s values by volunteering as a group or sponsoring an event you believe in. One study found that a whopping 78% of consumers want businesses to take the lead on social issues. In other words, when you invest your time or money into important service opportunities customers take notice. When you give back, people see you as part of the community and are more likely to use your business.
Hire and Retain Employees that Share Your Values
If your business’s number one goal is profit, you will attract employees who feel the same way. Their loyalty will be limited to the next paycheck, and for the most part, they won't go above and beyond when you need it. However, when your company lives its core values within the community, retention rates will be higher, and you will attract skilled people who want to do more than simply show up.
This strategy is especially important if you hire younger employees. Forbes reported that 83% of millennials said they would be more loyal to a company that contributed to social and environmental issues. They also found that Gen Z, the newest group to enter the workforce, expect their employer to have a purpose beyond profit. Gen Z job candidates even showed they are more likely to read mission statements and value documents.
When you have a company culture that includes giving back, you can attract aspirational employees. These workers want to be connected to something bigger than themselves, and when your business gives them that opportunity, they find more than employment–they find fulfillment.
Pick the Right Partners
Of course, when you choose to do community outreach, it needs to fit with your organization's core values and areas of expertise. To find opportunities that are right for you and your business, try some of the strategies listed below.
- What problems exist in my community today? Whether it’s supporting local schools or animal shelters, find a cause that aligns with your values.
- Encourage employees to volunteer during work hours. Maybe it’s just one hour a month, but when employees can give back during work hours they don’t have to choose between serving and time off.
- Create a custom plan for volunteering based on what matters to your employees.
- Share about the time and investment your employees give on social media or your website. People love feel-good stories and this will help boost the perception of your business.
The Bottom Line
Above all, be creative in your approach and choose projects that get you excited. Your enthusiasm will shine through and make your business memorable in the eyes of your community.
The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce is a private non-profit organization that aims to support the growth and development of local businesses and our regional economy. We strive to create content that not only educates but also fosters a sense of connection and collaboration among our readers.
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