The third Thursday of every March is Companies That Care Day. In 2010 it?s on March 18. Learn some more about this Day and how your company can be one that cares.
What Is It?
Basically, Companies That Care Day is when businesses try to do two very important things:
- Showcase their employees' talents and make them feel good about their jobs and careers
- Improve the relationships between the businesses and the communities in which they're located. In other words, "give something back" to the community
Valuing Your Employees
It doesn't matter if you have 100 employees or 10, without them the business wouldn't go far, right? So, how do you show them their work is appreciated and valued, so much so they're not tempted too look elsewhere for work or give you less than their best efforts? On Care Day, there are a number of things you can do, such as:
- Gather your employees and tell them! If that's not practical, hold a teleconference or web-based meeting, or send an email. Thank them for their hard work, and explain a little bit about how the company's doing and what you think the future looks like
- Buy your employees lunch for the day, and while they're enjoying it, make an effort to walk through the cafeteria and talk to a few of them
- Hold a contest, like several questions about the business - when did it open, where, what was the first product or service sold, etc. The fist few employees with all the correct answers get a hat, shirt, or even a coffee mug with the company logo. It doesn't have to cost a lot to mean a lot
- If you don't already have a suggestion box, start one on Care Day. If you have one already, remind your workers where it is and how to use it. On Care Day, select a good idea or two give a prize
- Get your employees involved in Care Day at the ground level. Ask them to form a group or committee to help plan out the days events
- Let the employees know what the company is doing to make sure the workplace is safe and the employees have the tools they need to do well and grow their careers
- Let the employees know what the company is doing to strengthen its ties to the community
The possibilities are endless. Any one of these activities, or anything else you can think of, can go a long way to show you care about and value your employees.
Helping the Community
Giving back the local community does a few key things:
- Makes your employees feel good about the company
- Builds a reputation of trust with the citizens of the community
- Improves your standing and reputation with other businesses in the community
Again, there any number of events or activities you can do here to help out your community on Care Day, such as:
- Hold a canned food drive to support the local food pantry or free store
- Sell raffle tickets for gift certificates to local restaurants and stores and donate the money raised to a local charity
- Give short guided tours of the business to area high school seniors to give them a look at post-high school life and the work world. Explain what some of the jobs are and what kinds of education or experience they need to the types of work going on in your business
- Select a local charity or other worthy-cause and let some of your employees volunteer there for the day. This could be anything from working in the local soup kitchen or reading stories to children in the hospital
Volunteerism in the community is a big part of the Cares concept to many businesses. In fact, many businesses don't limit the ability to volunteer to Companies That Care Day only. Beyond the Day itself, "Caredays" run from mid-march through mid-April, and some companies let their workers volunteer on any one of those days. Other companies give their employees one or two paid days per year to volunteer and let them use those days whenever they want to.
Programs like this can get a little tricky. You trust your employees, of course, but unfortunately some may break the rules. You can keep track of Care volunteer time by requiring employees to get a written statement verifying when, where, and for how long she volunteered.
Again, here's a good chance to get your employees involved directly. Let your Cares Committee find and coordinate with local schools, hospitals, public service agencies, and charities that can use some volunteer help. The committee can match workers with opportunities, or provide a way for employees to pick and choose - like a bulletin board, periodic email notice, or a web page on the intranet.
Your employees and community are important to your business. This Companies That Care Day, try to let them both know you value and appreciate them. Practically anything will do, no matter how small you may think it is. You can get a lot more information, tools, and resources from the Center for Companies That Care.
Questions For Your Attorney
- I want to hold a small "picnic" for my workers, their families, and children who live in my business' community. Are there any legal issues I need to consider?
- Does my insurance cover any of my employees who are injured while volunteering away from my business or hurt while driving to and from their volunteer location?
- If a worker quits before taking his company-paid Cares days, do I have to pay him for those days?