Industry and Community Involvement is Good Business
February 3, 2023
No matter what industry you work in or what position you hold within your company, participation in community and industry organizations, such as those in the commercial real estate industry, is good for business. The company, employees and the organizations will all reap the benefits of community involvement.
Anyone can become a “member” of an organization, just pay your dues and you are in. But it’s the “more” that makes the difference. To have a real impact, think about joining a committee or a board of directors. Volunteer your services or expertise. Involvement with any organization can be a gratifying experience but only if you make the effort.
Community service helps you build a culture within your organization. It shouldn’t only be the CEO or business owner. Encourage your employees and even your vendors to become involved. It’s a team effort that is sure to build camaraderie, improve communication and encourage social development.
Whether you are new to an industry, or you are a legend in your industry, particularly the commercial real estate industry, there are many professional and personal reasons to get involved:
- You can position yourself as a recognized industry leader: As an active participant in your industry organization, you may be presented with opportunities to be a guest speaker, sit on a roundtable discussion and even write opinion pieces for the group’s website.
- Awareness of your company: Not every company has the advertising, PR or marketing budget it takes to generate consistent awareness of the company.
- Networking: Being active means you will have access to decision makers and those who may refer business to you. The more people you know, the more people will know you. It’s an opportunity to meet new people – professionally and personally.
- Gain knowledge: Many times, a local organization has a national office and network. Here is where you can find up-to-date industry news, have access to others and it can possibly be a source of new business, if a company is looking for a local partner in your market.
- Source of talent: Industry events are a hotbed of talent. There are opportunities to interact with potential employees and future partners.
As leaders in business, we have an obligation to support the communities where we live and do business. It’s not hard to do. All of us have a passion beyond our businesses. What’s yours?
“My passion revolves around helping kids, improving education and protecting the environment,” said Eric Wolf, president of Excel Construction of Florida, one of the leading commercial and industrial real estate construction companies. “My mom is a retired teacher, and my wife was a teacher before our kids came along so I am committed to kids and education and have always been interested in environmental causes and conservation.”
Why get involved? Not only does it support the community but getting involved also is good for the company and employees.
Here are some ways it benefits your business:
- Team members have the opportunity to be involved. Wolf always tries to involve his team in the company’s community relations initiatives. “When they are involved, they feel good about our contributions and see first-hand how together we can have a positive impact on the non-profit organizations that help so many in our community,” Wolf said.
- When your employees come together for a cause it can a team building exercise. It might be as simple as putting together a team to walk or run in a fundraising event to benefit a local charity. An added benefit is that they can all be wearing company-branded shirts that serve as walking, or running, billboards not only the day of the event but whenever they wear the shirt.
- It builds camaraderie and loyalty among your team members. We want employees to enjoy where they work and be proud of their company. Engaging employees and investing in the community creates an environment in the workplace where people want to be and want to stay.
- Creates a sense of community: It is for the greater good that we donate, volunteer and participate in events to support our community. When we do that, we build relationships, we become part of something, we feel fulfilled, we can influence change and we make an emotional connection.
What else can you do?
It’s good business to encourage employees to get involved. That can take many forms, all of which require a business owner to provide the time and resources for employees to be active in community organizations or events.
Let employees choose a cause that they are passionate about or an organization thy are interested in. Give them the flexibility to choose how they want to be involved. It’s a great way for them to meet new people. Encourage them to give back by volunteering or serving on a board or committee. Support them with in-kind and/or monetary donations, purchase tickets to events and bid on auction items.
As leaders, we all should do what we can to support our communities where we live and work. It’s up to us to make that happen.