People with high levels of self-esteem have energy left over to help others, and great companies take advantage of this to support the community. This can mean supporting local schools and organisations, raising money for a specific charity, or acting on a wider scale for the good of other countries in the world.
There are numerous advantages to this, only one being community benefits. Painting the walls of a children's home with people from other teams is a great way of building relationships that will oil the wheels of business in the future. It develops pride in the company and understanding of how to sustain effort and work with new people, plus the opportunity to practise leadership.
Wragge & Co. offer their specific skills to community organisations, working in partnership with them on a no-fee basis. Lee, a legal executive, has an autistic son who regularly visits the office. While setting up a local branch of a charity that supports autistic families, Lee was given the support of a lawyer to cover the necessary legal work. The lawyer has now become a trustee who continues to help with business planning.
Team-building is another side-effect of serving the community. Shortly after Helen joined her team at Asda House the company undertook a sponsored walk. They raised £1,000, and she had the ideal opportunity to get to know people in a different way. Asda stores ‘adopt' nearby schools and gain similar spin-off benefits - holding a Christmas party for local kids is no mean feat, requiring people to cooperate and work together if the children are to have a memorable experience. The results are highly effective teams, positive working relationships, great stories to tell and be proud of, and some tired but happy kids at the end of a long day.
Managers who listen carefully to their people will uncover all sorts of ideas for personal and community development. After Claire had been at CORGI for nine months, she ran an idea past Bob Henry. She had heard that local schools needed to find working people willing to talk about their experience of getting a job. Since she had started her working life with minimal qualifications and is now a successful accountant, she really wanted to encourage the kids to go for their dreams, even if it seemed hopeless just now.
There were huge benefits for Claire and CORGI in this project. It underlined all she had achieved which built self-esteem, and she used her leadership skills to take on the opportunity. It was not an easy audience to address and she was concerned they would be bored - but facing that fear and getting a positive outcome built confidence in her speaking ability. In fact, the children were genuinely interested in all she had to say, taking hope from her achievements. They also learned to look for the organisations that seek out talent regardless of entry qualifications - she is a fantastic advertisement for great companies!