Balancing community service, business needs

Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Q: I am CEO of a 35-employee company. How do I balance giving my employees time off to be active in the community with the need to keep my company productive?
A: It is delightful to hear that you are asking this question. This tells me that you haven’t dismissed employee requests for time off to help the community but instead are wondering how to deal with this request as you also cope with your business priorities.
You and your business are part a larger community. This larger community can be viewed as your local neighborhood, town, state or society as a whole. You are also part of the physical environment that we all share with other animals and the global community of man.
Think about what makes sense for your business? You don’t say what industry you are in but this may help you determine a win-win for you in helping your business while at the same time allowing your employees to connect with the community.
For instance; if you are a retail store, is there a town-sponsored litter-pick-up activity that employees could participate in? You could improve the appearance of the neighborhood where your store is located while at the same time allowing employees to give back to the community.
If you are a small business that can’t spare people the time off, or can’t pay employees to participate in community service work, try selecting a local halfway house or homeless shelter and conduct a clothing drive. Employees can bring used clothing to a central cite at work. No time will be lost from work hours, but the energy and teamwork fostered by focusing on the project may be great for employee morale while helping those in need.
Larger companies often provide a day of community service per year or allow so many hours off per month for community service.
Why don’t you appoint a committee of employees to come up with ideas that make sense for your business? Good luck.
Q: What is your advice about taking a leadership position when it will be an unpopular decision?
A: You don’t say why taking this leadership position will be an unpopular one or why you are considering it. Is the position inside or outside your organization? Will you be leading a team, a project or something else? All of these questions have a bearing on how best to proceed.
Generally speaking, I would suggest you examine your reasons for wanting to take on the position. Make a list. Examine the reasons for this being an unpopular decision. Think about whether you will need to win over key thought-leaders in order to succeed.
If so, you’ll need a clear plan about how to approach this issue of influencing others. Is this leadership initiative something that will be a stretch for you? Do you need leadership training before proceeding? Will this position contribute to your professional growth or derail your career?
These are questions you want to carefully examine before moving forward. Consider using an executive coach or mentor to help you make the decision.