Successful corporate initiatives require employee buy-in. That was apparent during the giveback session at the 2022 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Before discussing how to encourage employee volunteerism, conference attendees gave back by gathering art supplies and assembling backpacks for Create Now, a Los Angeles nonprofit that empowers youth through arts programs.
“Over the last 25 years, we’ve helped over 50,000 kids here in L.A.,” says Create Now CEO Brandon Johnson. “And we cover all of L.A. to reach as many kids as possible.”
After loading the backpacks with supplies, attendees shared how their credit unions give back to their communities. The consensus is that creating a culture of volunteerism starts with the highest levels of leadership.
“When we have an event, our CEO is there,” one attendee says. “And he’s not doing the glamorous stuff, it’s whatever has to be done. Our senior leadership follows his lead, and then it’s easy to get people to come out.”
Creating a collaborative environment of volunteerism requires bringing the right people through the doors in the hiring process.
“We’re screening people when we hire them,” she says. “We tell them all about our culture and what we do. If people aren’t excited about our community, we seek out a different candidate.”
Getting employees with the right mindset through the door is a crucial first step. Then it’s up to the credit union’s leaders to keep them engaged.
One credit union leader suggests making volunteer events family friendly by welcoming spouses, kids, and friends into the effort.
Several session attendees shared their belief in asking employees to support organizations of their choice. This enables credit unions to help their communities, support new organizations, make employees feel heard, and meet new people.
Another attendee suggests bringing the giving atmosphere into the community, explaining how their credit union converted an old Volkswagen into an ice cream van to serve the treat at birthday parties and community events.
No matter the method, attendees maintain, fostering volunteerism and engaging employees enriches the community.