As part of our #MadeinSWVA video series, we recently visited Hollingsworth & Vose, located in Floyd, VA, to film a video about their impressive community involvement. While discussing the many ways H&V gives back to the community, Site Manager Vince Hatcher mentioned that community involvement is just as beneficial to the company as it is the community. After hearing this, we decided to do a little study on the various benefits that community involvement has on a company. There are too many benefits to list them all in one blog, so we have compiled a list of the five benefits we found to have the most impact.
The average company in the United States spends over 1 million dollars annually to train new employees. The best way to lower that cost? Employee retention. Hollingsworth & Vose happens to have a very low turn over rate, so much so, that they have a “Quarter of a Century Club” for employees that have been with them for over 25 years. Is it just a coincidence that they are also very involved in their community? We think not. Multiple studies show that there is a direct correlation between community involvement and low turn over rates. A Net Impact and Rutgers University survey found that employees who are able to make a social impact at their place of employment are more satisfied with their jobs by a 2:1 ratio. It also found that 45% of employees who have volunteered with their company or co-workers report that they are very satisfied with their jobs, compared to 30% who haven’t. It also stated that 65% of students entering the job market expect to make a social impact through their work and 44% stated they are willing to take a pay cut to do so.
Skill Development for Employees
Giving employees an avenue to volunteer not only makes them feel better about themselves and the work they are doing, it also helps them build and improve their skill set. Many employees have stated that volunteering regularly has had a major impact on their leadership and communication skills. When employees have the opportunity to develop new skills and improve upon the ones they already have, it is no surprise that companies that engage in their communities through volunteer work are found to have more productive and engaged employees than ones that don’t.
Builds Relationships in Your Community
Community involvement is a way to market yourself to your community as more than just a product, your company becomes part of their lives. When a company makes a point to work within a community, the residents of that community take notice. If you sponsor the local high school’s basketball team, every basketball fan in that town is going to know who you are. When your employees show up to help build a Habitat for Humanity house for a deserving family, people are going to be appreciative. So when community members go to buy their products, they are going to know your name, and feel that they are giving back to their community through supporting your business. Also, in the unfortunate event that your business goes through a rough patch, there have been several instances where a community will rally in support of a business that has a reputation of supporting them.
Strengthens Your Community
Their are many ways a company can work to strengthen their community. Sometimes this will be a long term investment in things like education. For example, Hollingsworth & Vose teaches classes to local high school students that consist of things like lean principles. They also give out scholarships. By doing this, they are helping to build the next generation of workers. Companies can also invest in things like community health and the beautification of the town. Through these various ways of giving back, you can help ensure that your community is healthy, educated, and a place where people want to live. All of which will contribute to a strong workforce and customer base.
Being involved in the community helps with networking in some obvious ways, like community members are going to know who you are. But it also helps with peer to peer networking as well as networking with organizations that provide services you may need. When your company volunteers or sponsors local events, you can lead by example and encourage other businesses to participate as well. Your not only helping the community by getting other companies involved, but you will have more chances to engage with these businesses.
Community involvement leads to a stronger customer base and is proven to increase performance. Companies who regularly engage in community involvement significantly outperform other businesses. Community involvement is important to customers. So much so, that it can even be the deciding factor when deciding between two businesses.
So, in short– when you are helping others, you help yourself!
Keep an eye out for SVAM’s next #MadeinSWVA video about community involvement!