1) When did your company realize that Social Responsibility is important to integrate into the company and why?
We believe that while companies are intangible legal creations, it is important for them to have character. Often, of course, that is a reflection of the leadership of the company. As a family business, perhaps it is easier for that personification to be part of the culture. So, from the time that we created the business, we have felt that we have a Social Responsibility to our communities in which we operate, and to the staff that share their skills and time with us. We believe that the benefit that we receive from our employee group as a result of that certainly outweighs the cost to the company.
2) What Giving Back activities have been most effective with Employee Engagement at your company or for your company and why do you think that is?
We generally pick one or two specific causes that the employees can be involved with, such as a portion of every storage rental being directed to a named charity. That creates a broad engagement across the company. A characteristic of our business is that we operate a number of locations with relatively few employees at each location. They effectively become islands. When we have a unifying goal, above and beyond the business mission, we see strong take up by the staff, and it helps narrow the psychological feeling of the geographic distances that exist between the many locations. Each year we have a training/celebration conference for all staff, and the recognition of success towards our charitable goals are an important item in that 3 day affair.
3) What other benefits have you seen through giving back with your Employees or for your company?
We have seen a greater willingness of employees to come to us with causes that they feel are important to community building. For instance in the last month, we have had employees come to us to help support an employees son who was participating in an inter-provincial soccer tournament, and another who is participating in a mission trip to Cuba. We are encouraged by this, that they have the confidence to raise these issues with us, and hope that it encourages generous initiatives in their own lives.
4) What advice would you like to share with other companies who want to start giving back or engaging their employees through Social Responsibility activities?
As noted above, and something that we have all experienced is that you usually get back more than you give – not always tangibly of course. It helps build employee loyalty and solidarity. In the end however, it is just the right thing to do.
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