Date Added: April 2011
Note: A version of this article appeared in the April 13, 2011 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Time, treasure and talent. This is a common phrase for community giving. Treasure is a monetary contribution. Talent is using your skills for a community effort. Time may be the most difficult.
Time is a choice. Do you have time to volunteer to help our community -- and the world -- become better? Does your employer allow you the time? Do you want to find the time?
My employer was gracious enough to support my travel to India on a 10-day humanitarian trip to provide polio immunizations to children. This is a lot of time away. In addition, co-workers were extremely supportive knowing it created additional work in my absence. A supportive employer and co-workers demonstrate an appealing corporate culture and values, leading to stronger employee engagement.
Who wouldn't want to work for an organization that supports employees investing time in local and international communities? This is more prevalent with Generation Y as data shows this generation wants to volunteer with both local and international efforts.
Leaders and organization needs to encourage and demonstrate this. A CEO recently mentioned he admired me for going on a humanitarian trip and wish had had time to do so. My response, "Time is a choice. If the organization can't run without you for 10 days, something is wrong. And if you encourage a culture of community giving, lead by example."
Fortunately, he took these words as constructive feedback and agreed this is a personal choice. A few suggestions for organizations:
Time is not a once a year activity, it's ongoing. And while we have many needs in our own community, we shouldn't make this a question of local or international; it's should be an "and" question -- local and international.
Community giving is a strategy embedded in an organization's culture and displayed by leaders. It makes good business sense because it creates a better organization, better employees, better communities and better world.