Community Involvement Makes For Satisfied Employees

helping hands
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You can lead an employee to water—or free pizza, or beer—but that won’t necessarily make that employee happy.

Defining any one initiative as the key to employee contentedness would be foolhardy. Workers are not robots, and what delights one will do next to nothing for the other. From my heady days quasi-managing volunteers at an Audubon Center in Maine taught me, you can’t make everyone happy all the time.

Yet there is a growing consensus that community involvement is one of the best ways to make a lot of employees content with their jobs. If your employees are tethered to their desks all day, they may feel like they’re not making a difference even if their work is important. Bring them out to clean up a local community center, read to kids and work at a local soup kitchen and they almost can’t help but feel they’re making that difference.

Allow me to indulge in an excerpt from Minnesota’s StarTribune:

Teresa Daly, a veteran organizational development and human resources consultant who runs Minneapolis-based Navigate Forward, has concluded, based on academic research and organizational performance, that companies that stress the common good and community outreach in addition to profit-driven performance tend to be superior long-term performers and good places to work.

At General Mills, long recognized nationally as a top workplace, “employees take great pride in [the company’s] role in the community. And this pride results in higher job satisfaction and longer tenure,” the company said.

Through its “Doing Good Works” community outreach program, Securian Financial Group Inc. in St. Paul said it has contributed more than $28 million over the past 10 years, including more than $19 million in cash gifts. Securian employees also volunteer at nonprofits ranging from Habitat for Humanity to United Way to the Red Cross.

Your company probably isn’t General Mills, but not many of us are. The point is that there are plenty of worthy causes in your community if you know where to look, and you probably have a lot of employees who would embrace them if asked.

If you have the chance to raise the profile of your company, raise the satisfaction level of your employees and do good in the community…how do you pass that up?

Tell us about your own charitable works in the comments.

Photo credit to michelini at

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  1. Great post Dave.

    As a student who has worked most of his life in the service industry – the motivation to work in these types of jobs can easily become stale.

    Breaking up the daily monotony of a service job is so important for owners and management. Of the many service jobs I’ve had, only one has made an effort to allow us to participate in our community. As an employee, when I come back from making an impact – even if it ‘s small- on my community, I feel fresh and energized. I believe that we are naturally altruistic people and that allowing workers to harness that altruism and bring it back to the workplace is a huge benefit for everyone involved in the business.

    Your post spurred me to write my own post on the topic, though I also added to the discussion some of the marketing benefits of community involvement. This should be the post here I believe,

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