Humans of HR: Community Engagement

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This article was updated on July 22, 2018.

In part two of our series, we learned why work-life balance in HR is important to engage employees in today's day and age. But right along with that comes the need for organizations to have a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.

In part three of our series with Monica Baker, chief brand officer of PyraMax Bank, we discuss community engagement. Here, Monica talks about the role HCM software plays and how community service can be the tipping point when it comes to recruitment.

What Ways Does Your Organization Give Back to the Community?

One thing we've instituted that has been huge is PyraMax Bank Gives. We select different charities, and employees have volunteer hours available in our time and labor management software where they can select a charity to give back to and get paid for that. They can do it individually, but once a year we pick two organizations where we volunteer as a group.

We always have one larger charity that employees select in conjunction with our wellness program. In the past, it's been the American Heart Association, and we raised over $10,000. We've also partnered with the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation and the Alzheimer's Association. All the employees rally together to raise funds, and then we walk as a team in their charitable walk.

We also partner with Make a Difference here in Milwaukee. They take our employees and put them in a classroom with a structured program to educate people in the inner city about why it's important to save and why a credit score is important.

That's a lot — and that all comes out of HR!

How Does Community Engagement Help the Organization?

I think it's huge for recruitment. Many times, if someone applies on our website, they see our tab that says "PyraMax Gives." I can't tell you how many people, when I'm doing an interview — especially the younger demographic — tell me, "I just love that you guys do all this stuff, that you give back!"

We've built out our intranet where service for the month and other announcements are posted on a live bulletin board. And you know it's a good fit when, for example, our chief credit officer continued volunteering at a charity on his own time. That's when you know there's a huge connection. He never would have found this charity or would have gone and volunteered on his own. So to have an employee think, "Oh, this is a great organization. I want to give." I think that says it all.

What Advice Do You Have for HR Leaders Who Want to Promote Community Service?

Just do it! Everyone gets caught up calculating time, what they're doing and how they're doing it. Some businesses require documentation from wherever employees volunteer. If you don't trust your employees, I think that says a lot about a business. You'll know if someone's gone, because they're going to send pictures, come back with raving stories or say something to someone. Micromanaging that process turns it into a task. I think that's when it fails. Keep it simple and make it meaningful. That's it!