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The Impact of Community Involvement in the Workplace

By Arlene Lieberman, Executive Director, Barney & Barney Foundation

clock December 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Community_Challenge_Logo-3.jpgSince the inception of the Barney & Barney Foundation in 2009, our associates have been actively involved in the growth and success of the foundation. Each year, associates nominate nonprofits in their community to become grant recipients at our annual “Rock the Foundation” concert event. Fundraising for this event is widely supported by the associates through both ticket sales and volunteerism leading up to and during the event. As a natural outgrowth of this associate involvement and in recognition of the value of volunteer hours, in 2014 the foundation launched a sister initiative—the Community Challenge.

Jennifer_Espetia_Baja_Dog_Rescue-1.jpgWhat we learned is this: If you challenge an associate, be ready for a landslide of activity. From June 2014 to February 2015, Barney & Barney associates collectively volunteered over 4,400 hours at more than 100 non-profit organizations. Based on the current estimated value of volunteer time used by the government, this is the equivalent of over $100,000 in additional funds for those organizations.1

The impact to the foundation and the nonprofits in our community was apparent but we wanted to hear from our associates. What impact did the Community Challenge have on the associates, specifically related to employee recruitment and retention, the firm’s reputation, and increased community involvement?

Here is what they had to say:

  1. Recruitment

The survey responses suggested that community involvement helps us to recruit talent. Of the sixty-two respondents hired after July 2014, when the Community Challenge was launched, 45% said that community involvement was important in their decision to work at Barney & Barney and 60% discussed Marsh & McLennan Agency's community involvement in their interviews.

  1. Retention

With regard to retention, we found that community involvement and the volunteer program increase associate satisfaction. Out of 225 respondents, 73% believe that community service activities support their work/life balance and 53% say that the Community Challenge has helped them to connect with others. Our associates have also been able to employ their skills when volunteering, with 69% utilizing their strengths and personal interests.

  1. Reputation

biztown-2.jpgOverall, 91% believe that the Community Challenge enhances the reputation of MMA. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that 37% of respondents have discussed community involvement and/or the Community Challenge with clients.

  1. Involvement

Of the 225 respondents, 63% said that the Community Challenge has encouraged them to be more involved. In 2014, almost 50% of our associates logged volunteer hours—an outstanding level of participation.

Community involvement is a core value at MMA that our associates put into action every day. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in partnership with our local nonprofits and look forward to reporting on our associates’ community activities in 2016. To learn more about the Barney & Barney Foundation please visit http://www.barneyandbarneyfoundation.org/.

Next, we explore how to create a community involvement program at your organization.

1 http://independentsector.org/volunteer_time and http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/

Topics: Community Outreach, Human Resources

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