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Community involvement benefits employers and employees

By Traci DeLore (tdelore@cnybj.com)

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Cultivating a culture of community involvement can benefit a company on multiple levels from improved employee morale to networking opportunities.

Todd Klaben

“It’s such a tremendous benefit all around,” says Todd Klaben, regional managing partner for the Central New York region at The Bonadio Group in Syracuse. 

Providing opportunities for employees to volunteer provides an array of benefits to both employee and employer, he says.

First, employees volunteering side-by-side with their co-workers creates a sense of community between them. “It provides strong connections with others in the company,” Klaben notes.

Employees may also find devoting time to a cause they are passionate about outside of work helps them focus when they are at work, he adds. Those efforts may also assist employees in honing skills they don’t use in their day-to-day job.

The networking opportunities are a huge bonus, too.

For employers, supporting community involvement can help them foster employees who feel more emotionally attached to the business, which can help with employee retention, Klaben says.

Kambeo, a platform that helps connects volunteers and organizations, complied statistics that note 87 percent of employees who volunteered with their company had an improved perception of their employer, 82 percent felt more committed to their companies, and employee turnover drops by an average of 57 percent when employees are connected to their company’s volunteering efforts.

On top of that, the business does gain some exposure from volunteering efforts and being involved in the community.

In today’s world, corporate social responsibility is increasingly important and impacts brand reputation, according to Kambeo, which has offices in New York City and Toronto.

There are a number of approaches a business can take on community involvement, Klaben says. At Bonadio, the company has an annual purpose day where the company closes its offices and employees are given the opportunity to volunteer in the community.

But there are a number of other options a company can consider he says, starting simply from participating in a fundraising effort or providing employees an amount of paid time off for volunteering.

Other options, according to Kambeo, can include things like skills-based volunteering that leverages employee’s expertise to address challenges faced by nonprofits and philanthropic partnerships and donations of financial contributions, resources, or products to support charitable causes.

“You start off small,” Klaben says. “There’s plenty of organizations in the community you can reach out to.”

He suggests having a committee or group dedicated to outlining the company’s community involvement initiative, but he cautions against just jumping on any volunteering opportunity.

“There’s got to be a passion for it,” he says. “The employer has got to believe in it.” In that way, community involvement becomes part of the company’s culture.

Headquartered in Rochester, the Bonadio Group is a CPA firm that offers accounting, tax, and consulting services. The company has offices in Albany, Batavia, Buffalo, East Aurora, Syracuse, Utica, and New York City, as well as Rutland, Vermont and Dallas, Texas.   

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