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Giving Back Looks Good on the Outside, Feels Better on the Inside

Communities Work Together_jpgOne of the basic rules of loyalty marketing that I have learned over 20 years is that you can’t expect to look beautiful on the outside if you don’t feel great on the inside. And look inside any organization and what do you see? Its people.

Employees are the heart of every organization, and their wellbeing will determine, more than any other factor, just how well your lifeblood flows.

There are so many ways to ensure a psychologically healthy workforce. Empowerment, communications and knowledge are among the go-to strategies. And so is sharing, through charitable work. At LoyaltyOne, giving back to our communities has been a defining part of our culture throughout our 20-year history.

Like many organizations, we had a general commitment, but realized that we could not expect material results without a top-down, dedicated strategy. So in 2008, we decided to formalize the effort. We began partnering with charities with the goal of creating positive change, enriching relationships and improving lives in our communities across the globe.

This event, called CommuityOne Day, now takes place in Toronto, the United States, Calgary, Montreal and India. Thousands of associates volunteer in a range of organizations. In 2013, for instance, associates in Toronto had the choice of volunteering with five organizations:

  • ACER (Association for Canadian Educational Resources): Measures and tracks the effects of climate change with accurate reporting.
  • Second Harvest: Distributes donated, surplus food to a network of community agencies in the Toronto area, enough for 19,000 meals a day.
  • Fitness 4 Charity: LoyaltyOne gave $200 per associate to a Christmas Wish program, helping to distribute toys to less fortunate children during the holidays.
  • Helping Hands: Teams collaboratively build prosthetic hands to be distributed to amputees in developing countries.
  • Give Back Where You Live: Provides essential items for Toronto’s homeless community.

The results of these efforts were immediate, on the smiles of the people involved, and they were long reaching, for they reached into the homes of families thousands of miles away. And, importantly, CommunityOne Day empowered our associates to serve as role models in their communities. In other words, it strengthens us on the inside.

What could giving back do for your organization? Well, I can say with certainty that it contributed to LoyaltyOne being recognized as one of Canada’s Top 50 Best Employers in 2013 by Aon Hewitt. We also have been recognized as one of Canada’s 55 Greenest Employers in 2013 by Mediacorp Canada.

I once wrote that a company can’t expect to influence consumer behavior if it does not affect employee behavior. Truly engaged employees deliver something that no operational strategy or efficiency measure ever could, and that is heart. Have you had yours check lately?

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