CEI’s journey this past year to become a more conscious business has involved a fresh commitment to our community. Recognizing that giving is its own reward, we’ve strived to create a culture of volunteerism in our ranks. This encourages employees to come together for higher causes that are dear to them, and it’s proven pivotal in creating camaraderie, increasing employee satisfaction and engagement.

In 2018 alone the CEI team participated in events such as the Pancreatic Cancer Walk, the Walk for the Animals, Coastal Cleanups, and more. Employee monetary donations to charities were matched, and CEI donated to organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Camillus House, and Friends of American Foundation for Aids Research.

In the spirit of giving, we want others to buy in and implement similar programs to benefit not only their community but their own company as well. To begin doing so, keep the following in mind:

  1. Make clear your objectives/ core values.

    Why does your company host these volunteer events? If you’re trying to create a culture of volunteerism, you’re past the point of wanting good press and brand recognition, though that certainly comes with it. So what is driving you? What do you want to see in your employees, and in the way they engage in your community?

    In CEI’s case, we want to build an enlightened pool of employees who buy into the belief that giving is its own reward. We want our employees to feel the satisfaction that comes from giving your time to something worthwhile. It can be a humbling yet uplifting experience, and multiple cases have shown links between generosity and happiness.

    These feelings serve to strengthen the volunteer’s commitment to producing good work, as it will ultimately benefit the community at large. By creating a sense of responsibility to something other than ourselves, and even our company, we work harder and smarter. Everyone wins.

  2. Empower Your Employees – Involve them.

    Employees at CEI sponsor a variety of worthy charitable causes within the greater South Florida region, with CEI’s financial backing. We started doing this a little over two years ago and the results have been astounding. Our corporate core values –‘Community, Excellence, and Integrity’—were not only burnished by an increased commitment to our local communities but became defined by it. Employees that once required a little arm-twisting to commit to volunteering are now among the most enthusiastic leaders of these efforts. We encourage their suggestions as to how we can positively impact our neighborhoods, where we live and work. Employees are also encouraged to involve family and friends, which grows our giving footprint and helps us create a CEI family.

  3. Praise and encourage engaged employees—show off your success!

    As you work towards creating a culture of employees who show up because they simply want to contribute, it’s important to encourage them in as many ways as possible! Circulate pictures post-event around the office and on your company’s social media, highlight high attendance and how many hours were put in by individuals. Come up with fun and creative ways to reward everyone’s collective effort, such as raffling off a prize for event attendee, or hand out awards tailored to the event: Fastest Runners for races, Most Productive for packaging/organizing events, and more. There are also certain industry awards wherein you can include your company’s volunteerism on your applications. The point here is to promote and make your volunteerism highly visible—it’s the best way to ensure others join in.

Ultimately, a culture of volunteerism should be fun. It’s no easy feat to get yourself out of bed early on the weekend to go spend more time with your coworkers than you already do, even if it is for a great cause. If it promises to be rewarding and entertaining for the whole family, you’ll have the best chance of spreading the community spirit!