By Andrew Kupperman
Are there any Jimi fans reading this? Well, the experiences I want to talk about are a bit different (and work appropriate) from what he was probably talking about. It’s also a bit different from how we might talk about experiences within the scope of what we do at work on a day to day basis. Spoiler alert: this blog post isn’t about job interview questions such as “tell us about a time where you dealt with a difficult person.”
Experience has been a common theme in some of my past blog posts. I’m a firm believer employers should be doing everything in their willpower to provide employees a great experience at work, and I feel it’s the key to recruiting, retaining, and rewarding the people that keep your organization’s doors open. In the work setting, this can be done a number of ways: through perks offered by the company, the technological tools provided to employees, and even the general culture an organization emanates, which will undoubtedly impact how employees interact with and treat one another.
However, I think some organizations don’t always think about their role/s within the community in which they operate. Don’t get me wrong; I know there is a lot of good put into the community by many organizations by way of donations to non-profits and sponsorships of events. And I feel that should continue. But, organizations should also be asking about what else they can do to improve their communities, and how they can activate their employees’ engagement with this initiative.
At the recent Anchorage Economic Development Council, Chris Fair of Resonance Consultancy gave a presentation (if you didn’t get the chance to attend, you can watch it for free here!) centered around the factors that determine what makes a place great to live in, visit, or to do business, and how these factors can create prosperity. I may still be a Cheechako of a mere 5 years, but I love Anchorage, and have a burning in my gut to make it an even better place.
One of the take-aways I had from Chris’s presentation was that Anchorage is lacking in putting together those “instagrammable” moments, or in other words, the posting of experiences to the wide depths of the internet for all to see. How many times have you seen an awesome looking picture someone posted on social media, and did more research on that photo or posted a comment to find out more about it? Social media plays a big part in today’s world in how places become more attractive to outsiders to visit, to do business in, or live. It also influences the current inhabitants to spur more community involvement.
So what can we do as organizations to promote this? It all comes back to those good experiences you try to give employees. See what community events are happening and encourage your team to be a part of them. These could be non-profit related events, walks for a cause, or even something as simple as food trucks gathering in a town square. Anything that helps to bring people together is something that could end up as positive for the community. And, when your organization does get involved, make sure someone is taking pictures and spread the word about it on social media! This only serves to improve our community, as well as give it some due exposure to the awesome things happening in Anchorage.
At RISQ Consulting, we have a task force designed specifically for this. One of the things we wanted to convey was that this wasn’t being done as an obligation for employees, or as a marketing ploy. It’s important for the underlying drive to be centered around the improvement of the community in which someone works, lives, and plays. I think that is something most people can get behind without much further persuasion.
At the end of day, this type of initiative has oodles of positives for any organization. These experiences can help build teams, get employees to come out of their comfort zones for personal and professional development, as well as foster general interaction with others in the community. Most importantly, this will give employees the satisfaction in knowing they work for an employer who cares about improving their community, and provides them the opportunity to have experiences that contribute to that improvement.