The Benefits of Community Involvement

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.

Employee Retention

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.

Increases Networking

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!







Workers’ Compensation: The Nuts and Bolts – an overview

Although most employers take all of the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries at the  workplace, it is impossible to completely cut out the risk altogether. Therefore, employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation in the event of an injury or illness that the state defines as compensable. It is important to remember that workers’ compensation is meant to handle all forms of illnesses and injuries that occur while at work, regardless of who is at fault. However, there are some exceptions: an employee who is proven to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, if the injury was self-inflicted, or if the injury occurred while the employee was in violation of policies upheld by the company. 

Trying to determine exactly what is and what isn’t compensable can be a little tricky. To clarify some questions people have regarding workers’ compensation,  SVAM hosted a Lunch & Learn about it!  Ramesh Murthy, shareholder at Penn Stuart, led this training. He currently represents and counsels management and the insurance industry in human resource matters as well as representing industry in workers’ compensation litigation.  SVAM members can access a video of the training here.

Here is a recap of what we learned:

What’s covered?



  • Must be a specific incident marked by some temporal precision. 
  • Fault is not an issue. 
  • Gradual onset or cumulative trauma is not an accident. 

Example 1: A worker has been lifting boxes all day. At the end of the day, their back is hurting.  Testing reveals a herniated disk.

Example 2: A worker has been lifting boxes all day.  At 3:30 PM they lifted a particularly heavy box and felt back pain.  Testing reveals a herniated disk.  

Example 2 is compensable while example 1 is not. 

Arising out of

  • Must be a risk peculiar to employment.
  • Just because someone gets hurt at work does not mean it is compensable. 

Example 1: A worker is bending over to pick up a wrench in an awkward, tight space. They herniate their disk. 

Example 2: A worker bends over to pick up a wrench. The worker is not in an awkward position. Nothing is in their hands.  As the worker bends down, they herniate their disk.

Example 1 is compensable while example 2 is not. 


Occupational Diseases

  • Doctor tells employee he or she has a disease due to their work related exposure.
  • Injurious exposure to the causation hazards of the disease which is being claimed. 
  • Existence of the disease as a result of the exposure. 

Compensable Ordinary Disease of Life

  • Involves conditions which diseases which do not have to emanate from a work related exposure. 
  • Have to exclude non-work related causes.
  • Prove claim by clear and convincing evidence. 
  • If work exposure aggravates or exacerbates a pre-existing ordinary disease of life, it is NOT compensable. 


Now what? 

Potential Benefits:

Temporary Total

2/3 average weekly wage. The injured employee is entitled to this if he or she is totally disabled or partially disabled and he or she has made reasonable efforts to look for work within his or her residual capacity. This can last up to 500 weeks.

Temporary Partial

2/3 of difference between post injury average weekly wage and pre-injury average weekly wage. This applies when the injured worker is back to less than full duty work, with any employer, and is making less than his or her pre-injury wage. In order to obtain these, the injured worker has to prove partial disability due to the accident. This can last up to 5oo weeks. 

Permanent Partial

Compensation for loss of use of a scheduled member (arm, fingers, toes, etc.). The amount of weeks this must be paid depends on the rating of the member. In example, loss of an arm entitles one to 200 weeks of benefits. 

Permanent Total

Catastrophic cases. Lifetime indemnity for the life of the claim when paralysis, significant loss of use of two or more extremities, or significant brain injury. Benefits last for life. 

Vocational Benefits

Assistance with job search, retraining, education, etc. 


Virginia is an award state. That means that once an injury is accepted as compensable, an award agreement is issued which outlines the period of disability , the nature of the injury,  the average weekly wage and the compensation rate.  Once an award is entered, at a minimum, the employer is responsible for paying reasonable, necessary and authorized medical expenses causally related to the industrial accident for life. If the awards calls for the payment of Temporary Partial or Temporary Total, those benefits have to continue unless the injured worker signs a form agreeing to terminate or the employer files an application to suspend or terminate those benefits.  It is the employers obligation to rehabilitate the injured worker to the point that they can physically return to and  perform all aspects of their pre-injury employment or to place them in a job that pays them equal to their pre-injury average weekly wage.  This requirement can last up to 500 weeks in non-catastrophic cases. 

This is just a brief overview of all of the great information that Ramesh provided us with at our training. Don’t miss out on our next Lunch & Learn!