In today’s world, your company’s responsibility is not just to your employees and customers, but to the community in which you operate.
Being a good neighbor is an ongoing commitment to maintain the highest standards of ethical and safe business practices, to develop and empower your employees, and to thrive as engaged member in the community.
To do this, your company must prioritize your people, first, and align your business goals with the needs of your community.
Do the right thing
Your company, regardless of the industry, has regulations to uphold. Establishing and maintaining ethical and safe business practices shouldn’t just be dictated by regulations, but instead by the value to doing the right thing. Whether your company takes the time for annual employee training on the newest safety protocols or implements a process for sharing relevant information about a new project in the community, your company should always operate with transparency and proactivity, in place of secrecy and reactivity.
Keep in mind: Doing the right thing is something your customers should value and practice as part of your commitment to the community at large.
No longer are employees looking to just develop skills related to their jobs. Instead employees are also looking to align their own values and interests with their company’s mission. Meaning, your company’s employee development and retention program should extend beyond the office. To engage your employees in stimulating and rewarding work, inside and outside the office, your company should offer programs with health and wellness benefits, volunteer service, and education advancement opportunities.
Consider incorporating a budget for annual training that offer employees the chance to develop a new skill that aligns with their interest, but might be outside of their job function. This might bring new creativity or opportunities to an area of your company that you might not have previously considered. By holistically developing your employees, they are not only more engaged in their work, but they become your greatest ambassadors of your mission.
Getting involved in your community shouldn’t be for the “feel-good” factor. Companies that actively engage in a meaningful way are ones that recognize an opportunity to build mutually beneficial partnerships that meet the needs of their community and engage their employees in fulfilling service.
Whether your company’s initiatives include a volunteer program with matching contributions or a long-term partnership with a specific organization, it is important to align your community engagement with your company’s vision for a better future.
And for companies with a national or global reach, it is important to consider different partnerships at the local level. This doesn’t mean you have to stray from your overarching mission. Instead, it allows your employees to be involved with organizations that they know are directly improving their community.
Put it all together
While it is important to develop each component in to your annual goals, it is equally important to infuse these values and behaviors into the foundation of your business.
Successful companies know that being a good neighbor requires an ongoing commitment to your business practices, your employees and customers, and your community.
Tom Jensen is president and CEO for Explorer Pipeline. Since joining Explorer in 1977, Jensen has worked in all areas of pipeline operations, served as an area manager and been responsible for shipper relations. He was named vice president of operations in 2005 and president and CEO in 2015.