Engaging with your community enriches company culture, employee development, and offers an inside advantage to local projects.
Investing in your local community can reap many benefits for your employees, for your company, and for the people whose lives are positively impacted. Engaging in organizations, non-profits, and Chambers of Commerce not only makes good business sense, but enriches company culture, supports employee development, and offers an inside advantage to projects that reflect the unique attributes of each community. At Croy, commitment to community is one of our core values, a mantra we work to support at the corporate and individual levels. There are several benefits and approaches that work for us that can be applied within your own department or firm.
The importance of community to your employees. Involvement in various community outlets can support a robust, positive company culture and employee development. For instance, stepping outside the office provides employees with the opportunity to connect with clients in new environments. Meeting other engineers or industry leaders can also provide a fresh outlook on possible solutions to design challenges, and allows your people to learn innovative technologies or trends and build teaming partnerships.
According to research conducted by Gallup, millennials report “opportunities to learn and grow” as one of the top three factors they consider when applying for a job. As a substantial portion of today’s workforce, millennials continue to influence corporate strategy and policies, and providing options for involvement for your team is important to recruitment, retention, and professional development.
While the reason for supporting employees’ investment in community outreach opportunities may be clear, the challenge can arise in implementation. Specifically, how do we determine which community opportunities are a best fit for our involvement? Here are a few approaches we take to achieve the right balance:
- Encourage employees to become involved in an organization that reflects their interest or passion. For many, this includes involvement in an industry-related organization, where they can connect with fellow engineers and/or industry leaders.
- Match team members to non-profits or community organizations that reflect their non-work-related interests. By supporting an organization that embodies their passion, the process of giving and investing time becomes more rewarding and meaningful, while also bringing focus and intention to their volunteer service.A notable example of this at Croy is the involvement of our Georgia Engineering Services department lead, Scott McNally, PE. Scott grew up playing baseball, which eventually led to a scholarship to play for a Division I college program. While an injury ended his playing career early, Scott never lost his love for the game. He now works with Croy’s clients to design parks and recreation facilities across the southeast region. This also led him to serve on the board of directors for the Dave Krache Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to providing financial assistance to children so they can play sports. Not only does this opportunity provide an outlet for Scott to give back to his community in a meaningful way, but he has developed relationships that have resulted in new clients for our firm as well.
- Encourage employees to actively participate in their chosen organization(s) beyond nominal membership. Leadership development is a critical part of career development, and opportunities to learn these skills outside of the office are often more readily available. By leveraging community resources and involvement beyond simply serving as a volunteer or member, employees have an opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience and develop those necessary “soft skills” that translate back to leading a team and/or project at your firm.At Croy, many of our team members who have invested their time in leadership positions on various committees, taskforces, boards, and other leadership positions have seen their confidence in leading internal teams grow. Ultimately, our goal is to encourage our team members to build relationships, develop leaderships skills, and follow their passions – and supporting various organizations in leadership positions, while giving back to communities, offers a perfect outlet for this success.
The importance of community to your business. In the last 20 years, our country has experienced the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, and historic inflation, which have all taken a toll on our businesses. Strong community relationships, supported by long-standing investment and involvement, have helped Croy weather the negative impacts of these economic fluctuations.
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