In the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” This age-old question is one that is taken into consideration in many companies today. Given the construction industry’s great and lasting impact on society, some may even argue that it’s more important for our industry to incorporate community service into everyday business practices. It can seem daunting, but by creating a culture of service within your business – no matter how big or small — you can go beyond profits and productivity to make a positive impact on the communities in which you work.
Focus your efforts
Much like your company’s mission and vision is important to achieving your corporate goals, a philanthropic mission helps to bring clarity and focus to what your business hopes to achieve within the community. Think about how your business impacts the world around you and how your company can focus its service to make a difference. It can be as simple as creating an area of philanthropic focus like the environment or education, for example, and then identifying and becoming involved in relevant events and activities within your community.
Empower your leaders
Research clearly shows that the growing workforce, particularly younger generations like Millennials and members of Gen Z, desire learning and development in the workplace. In fact, according to Deloitte, “71 percent of Millennials are likely to leave the workplace within two years if they are dissatisfied with their leadership development.” Empower your leaders to help create a culture of service in the workplace. By giving them the autonomy to lead community outreach efforts, they gain leadership skills while becoming “champions” for the cause, helping to breed a culture of service within the organization.
Engage your employees
While your leaders can help champion outreach efforts, engaging employees of all skill levels is critical to creating a company-wide culture of service. Empower employees to become involved by joining a committee to help plan events, participating in events, welcoming new ideas for involvement and recognizing them for their efforts. Research shows that this type of engagement creates a stronger connection to the company and to the community, breeding happier, more satisfied employees.
Recognize your team members
By showing that you value individual and team efforts, you are showing appreciation while enforcing your company’s dedication to servicing the community. A little goes a long way, whether it is a company-wide email recognizing your team or a social media post to show your company’s strong sense of teamwork and community, your employees will be encouraged knowing that their efforts are appreciated.
As with any new initiative, creating a culture of service takes time to develop. But by focusing your efforts, empowering and engaging your team members, and recognizing the small wins throughout you will have a positive impact on the communities in which you work. At YKK AP, we find a commitment to community through our founder Tadao Yoshida’s philosophy of “The Cycle of Goodness” — “no one prospers without rendering benefit to others.”
Patrys Wiid is Vice President of Organizational Excellence at YKK AP America Inc. On Oct. 5 YKK AP will sponsor and participate in AEC Cares’ projectHouston as it joins forces with the Santa Maria Hostel to renovate its women’s substance abuse treatment center. We’ll bring together nearly 100 industry volunteers to create a warmer and more peaceful space for women in recovery and their families.
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, donating materials or volunteering for projectHouston, please visit the AEC Cares website at aeccares.com.