by Jeremiah Bentley, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Engagement - Texas Mutual Insurance Company
Austin is a community of givers. It’s part of who we are, and when businesses join in the culture of giving, they reap the rewards. Creating an employee volunteer program is one way that companies can give back and empower their employees to do the same. These kinds of programs aren’t only good for our city - they have been shown to have a measurable impact on employee engagement and positive brand awareness, according to a 2015 study from Boston College.
At Texas Mutual, I’ve seen firsthand how community giving has contributed to our company’s success. Our business and community relationships have strengthened, employee engagement has improved, and hundreds of team members have been mobilized in our community.
It’s the kind of success that’s repeatable and that any organization can experience by focusing on three key areas:
Engage your executive leaders
Empower your executives to lead by example. Leadership has the potential to inspire a special culture of giving at your company. First, identify your top leaders and get a baseline for their level of community engagement. You may find that your leaders are already active in the community in ways that align with your company’s strategic initiatives. Help communicate your leaders’ involvement across the company to show your workforce the difference they are making, while empowering your employees to also join the movement of giving. If they are not yet engaged, meet with the group to discuss their passions and business focus, and help identify community projects to kick start their efforts.
At Texas Mutual, our senior leaders are engaged in every significant community effort we are involved in. For instance, every year, a group of Texas Mutual employees participate in the MS 150 bike ride from Houston to Austin, which brings awareness to multiple sclerosis. It has become a tradition and a part of our culture, from weekend rides to the annual send off because each year, you can count on our CEO Rich Gergasko to make the 150-mile trek. He brings genuine passion, excitement and engagement to the event, making each ride better than the last and demonstrating commitment in action.
Align your strategic goals with corporate giving
One of the most beneficial things a business can do is to take is to stand for something and be a community leader. The study mentioned above also found that executives are more successful in achieving business goals when corporate citizenship is part of their overall strategy. Think of your business goals and see how you can make an impact in the community by aligning your goals.
For example, trade jobs are an important part of Austin’s economy and in our line of business, protecting those skilled workers is what we do. Over the next five years, the Austin metro area will have more than 60,000 middle-skill openings to fill. Because of this, Texas Mutual partners with Workforce Solutions to bring awareness to these careers to help dispel myths about working in trades and help build our city’s future workforce. Through this partnership, we’re helping people find meaningful careers, training them to be safe, skilled workers, supporting our policyholders in hiring for the future, and contributing to the health of the community that supports our success.
Make it fun and meaningful for your employees
Volunteering is one of the simplest and best team building experiences. Find out what your employees are passionate about – through focus groups, surveys or simple discussions – and give them opportunities to serve on your company’s behalf. Consider a team outing to cook a meal together at Ronald McDonald House, stuff backpacks with supplies for students at your neighborhood school without ever leaving your building, or sign up as a team to volunteer at the Central Texas Food Bank. Volunteering and giving comes in many ways, and companies of any size can incorporate volunteerism, which can help build team morale and brand awareness.
At Texas Mutual, we see these three areas as the keys to supporting our mission to build a stronger, safer Texas. It’s one of the central reasons that we have been named a Best Company to Work for in Texas eight times. These achievements go hand and hand.
Community giving is making us a stronger company with a more engaged, connected and productive workforce. And it can do the same for any organization. There’s no better way to strengthen our city and our workforces than through giving back.
Jeremiah Bentley is the vice president of marketing and customer engagement at Texas Mutual Insurance Company. An Austinite for over 20 years, he oversees the company’s community affairs program, which was recognized with a Community Relations Award by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2018. Jeremiah serves on the boards of the United Way for Greater Austin, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and was named a 2017 Volunteer of the Year by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Visit texasmutual.com/community to see more about Texas Mutual’s commitment to building a stronger, safer Texas.
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