Round Room, the product of a three-generation family-owned business, was originally founded by my grandfather in 1937 as Moorehead Electric. It then grew and developed into a different venture, Moorehead Communications and later TCC, under my father’s leadership before I took over in 2008. Today, Round Room, parent company of TCC, is the nation’s largest Verizon Authorized Retailer with more than 2,300 employees nationwide.
As we started to expand across the U.S., we wanted to find a way to foster connections between our employees and demonstrate value beyond just a paycheck. As a business owner, I was frustrated with the lack of engagement from my employees on all levels and we were experiencing high turnover rates and getting further from where we started. People no longer believed that everyone had a voice at our table and I was searching for ways to fill this gap.
What we found was that by encouraging our employees to get involved in their local communities, we increased retention, engagement and fostered connections that would last a lifetime.
In order to evolve beyond the average CSR program and really engage your employees on a deeper and more meaningful level, there’s a few things to consider:
1. Find your “why.” It all started when my parents talked me into trying a new church. That day, the pastor spoke about equating our “what” to our “why.” Of course, he was talking about your personal mission, but it got me thinking: there had to be more to it than just selling phones—we were better than that. That’s when we decided to drive purpose through philanthropy.
TCC is in the business of fostering connections, that’s the whole purpose of cell phones. But we found more success when we decided to take it a step further and begin fostering connections with our local communities through a series of annual events aimed at giving back.
By allowing your employees to find what drives them and then encouraging them to follow that passion within their community, your leadership team demonstrates an understanding that their jobs can be more than just bringing home a paycheck every two weeks.
This practice will not only help to increase employee engagement, but will result in new sales leads, assist with recruitment and more. Look at what your company is doing and ask yourself “why does this matter?”
2. Empower your employees. Rather than cutting a giant check and having the CEO present it on behalf of the company, consider allowing your employees to be the ones moving the needle on corporate giving. By giving them a say in the missions supported by your company, you’re telling them their voice matters.
In 2016, we launched our own philanthropic arm, TCC Gives, which oversees a program called “Community Grants.” This program allows TCC customers and employees to nominate a nonprofit to receive grants up to $10,000 each quarter. We also offer 16 hours of paid time off each year for volunteering, too. This has driven philanthropy into small groups and onto the enterprise level as well. Employees who are engaged at work and with their company’s purpose will be more than willing to help out when the company they work for pursues a noble cause.
Not only is becoming an integral part of the communities you serve the right thing to do, but it puts companies at a strategic advantage. When you invest time and money in your community, your community returns that investment, and companies with engaged employees outperform those without by more than 200 percent, according to a Gallup survey.
3. Get buy-in from leadership. According to Gallup, American businesses lose anywhere from $450-$550 billion a year due to the lack of employee engagement when workplace accidents, absenteeism and larger healthcare costs are factored in. One way to cut that loss and show your employees you mean business is by getting your leadership to fully buy into the new philanthropic ideas.
The key is to not break any processes that are already in place while pursuing philanthropic opportunities. A change doesn’t have to happen fast. You can start small by encouraging leadership to join volunteer organizations and watch their efforts trickle down. Eventually you can implement company-wide initiatives and larger campaigns.
TCC’s turnover is about half of our competitors’ because of our efforts. The longer an employee stays, the more they know and the more they will produce and get ingrained into their community. Investments made to engage employees beyond CSR will always add to your bottom line—you just have to know where to start.