How giving back can help you strengthen, grow your business
By Jeff Winter
It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in the community you live in. Something as simple as giving a friendly hello to a stranger or helping out a neighbor in need can go a long way toward making your community a better place to live. Helping out with a skill, like painting, can be even more rewarding. By lending a hand in your community, you can lift people’s spirits on a daily basis while improving your wellbeing and that of your business.
At Sherwin-Williams, we believe that giving back through volunteering is a powerful way to improve the communities in which we work while bettering our business. Through our annual National Painting Week campaign, and in partnership with painting pros, we have completed more than 1,000 community painting projects in North America since 2012. This year’s National Painting Week, which takes place May 25 to June 4, will see nearly 3,800 employees working on 222 projects, and we are excited to once again partner with some of our local professional customers on many of these projects.
National Painting Week allows us to refresh the spaces that need it most while improving employee wellbeing and building goodwill between our business and the communities in which we operate. In fact, giving back may be one of the best ways to simultaneously improve customer relations and employee satisfaction, and now is a great time to get involved in volunteer opportunities. Increased employee wellbeing, engagement and retention, as well as improved consumer interest are all benefits that can result from giving back—one coat at a time.
Improving Employment Outcomes
One of the biggest challenges in our industry today is finding and retaining good employees, and employee volunteer programs can be a great way to attract new talent in today’s job market. Younger job seekers are focusing more on making an impact and want to work for companies that are improving the world around them. One Deloitte survey found that 61 percent of Millennials said a volunteer program would be a factor when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay and benefits. Creating opportunities for employees to give back can help provide an edge over competitors when recruiting young talent.
Implementing volunteer programs can also help improve employee engagement and retention. Gallup research indicates just around 15 percent of employees worldwide are actively engaged at work—and disengaged employees are costing U.S. businesses between $450 billion and $550 billion per year. Furthermore, engagement levels affect turnover rates. Considering the cost of replacing an experienced employee, it is important to take steps to address these challenges. This is where a volunteer program can help. According to research done by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, nearly 90 percent of companies that measure the connection between volunteer participation and employee engagement found a positive correlation between participation and engagement rates.
Furthermore, in a United Health Group survey , people who volunteered reported feeling better emotionally, mentally and physically and 77 percent of employees who volunteered with work colleagues said it helped strengthen relationships. Use the opportunity to build bonds in your team.
Giving Back Attracts Customers
It’s not just potential employees who care about a company’s conduct. Consumers are increasingly voting with their wallets by being more purposeful in choosing the companies with which they do business.
This is particularly significant for trades such as painting contractors, whose customers are choosing who they hire based on recommendations from friends, family and neighbors. In a Sherwin-Williams survey, 72 percent of respondents listed personal referrals and relationships as the most common ways they find a professional painter, and 51 percent said they talked to a friend, family member or neighbor before making a decision. Becoming a fixture of the community through volunteerism is a great way to raise awareness of your business and stay top of mind for potential customers and those who may be asked for a recommendation.
The benefits of giving back are clear. By organizing a volunteer effort or program within your company, you can increase visibility and goodwill in your community, improve employee performance and cohesion, and better the neighborhoods in which you live and work. There’s no better time than the present to get out there and add a fresh coat of paint to give back in your community.
Jeff Winter is vice president of marketing for Sherwin-Williams.