At The Hagerman Group, community involvement has been an important part of our 109-year history. From a young age, I learned from my father and grandfather that the company wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the communities we work in. Contributing our time, talents and treasures allows us to give back to the local communities we’ve helped build. It’s also consistent with our focus on “building a better future.” But giving back provides benefits to our company, as well. Here are just a few ways community involvement can strengthen your team and your organization.
- Collaborating. Like a project, participating in a community or professional organization takes teamwork, whether it’s working on a house at Rebuilding Together or participating in meetings as a board member. Collaboration skills and techniques are directly applicable to the workplace, whether you’re in a conference room or on a job site.
- Gaining perspective. Volunteering for community causes provides a healthy dose of perspective, which helps develop empathy and understanding. You quickly learn that issues aren’t black and white and that we all still have a lot to learn.
- Becoming a better listener. When we volunteer, we’re often in situations we’re not accustomed to, which requires seeking to understand. This easily translates to the work environment, because the more we listen and the less we talk, the better off we’re going to be.
- Generating new ideas. In addition to being exposed to different organizations, volunteering allows you to interact with people who have diverse backgrounds. As a volunteer, you’re looking at our company through a different lens. These experiences help encourage the creative process and the instill the critical trait of embracing change!
- Applying strengths in different ways. Through The Hagerman Group’s skills in construction, we have opportunities to apply our talents to tasks some nonprofit organizations aren’t able to do themselves—like assisting with building a playground or making necessary repairs for life safety codes. While all our projects have positive impacts in our communities, these activities help us apply our strengths on a different scale, which makes a big difference for the organizations we’re helping.
Even with all the benefits of giving back, everyone is busy, and every company—at some point—struggles with having the time and resources to give back to communities. Here are some ways to address that challenge.
- Focus. At Hagerman, we know we can’t be all things to all organizations, so we’ve had to become more strategic in our approach to community involvement. We’re a family company, so family causes have been the primary focus of our contributions. We also tend to concentrate on early childhood initiatives because it sets a positive foundation for the future, and we look for areas of intersection between what our employees and our clients are passionate about.
- Make it part of everyone’s job description, and be willing to sacrifice some billable time for the greater good. At Hagerman, everyone is expected to be involved in a community or industry organization. This requires flexibility and allowing employees to use some work hours to pursue their volunteer passions.
- Lead by example. Giving back must start at the top. When employees see that leadership is engaged, they’ll feel more empowered to participate. The result is a culture that benefits both the community at large and the sense of community within your company.