By Brenda G. Smith
December 18, 2008
December 18, 2008 - Developing a strong Community Initiatives program did not happen overnight for OMNI Community Credit Union. Community involvement has been ingrained in the DNA of OMNI Community Credit Union since volunteers founded us back in 1951. The original premise of our credit union and many credit unions like us was based on the mission of “People Helping People.”
It is this same spirit that is prevalent in our organization today. OMNI team members are committed to being involved in the community, because as a community credit union we couldn’t exist without the community. Talk to any team member, and you’ll find someone that takes great pride and has developed a high level of self worth through our involvement in the community. Talk about a way to boost employee morale!
It definitely takes a creative approach to substantiate our community involvement. The real strength behind our community involvement has been the “loving and caring” attitudes each of our team members has for each other. This attitude has carried over to the members of the communities we serve. The approach that has helped substantiate our involvement is quite simple and really started out small.
Community Involvement – Getting Started
Create a “loving and caring” environment for your employees first. Otherwise, building community involvement won’t work.
Gain support from management or your business owner — the more team members the better.
Form a small committee within your organization. Make sure members of this committee are community minded. Maybe they already are involved in community projects and charities. Members of this committee will be very helpful in getting other employees involved as well.
Choose a community project or charity that would give your business the best exposure. Another idea would be to find out the projects and charities which with your customers are involved.
Find low-cost ways that both your business and employees can get involved in. Some examples:
-¢ Give your employees time off to be involved.
-¢ Match your employees’ contributions to the charity that has been chosen by your organization.
-¢ Allow your employees to participate in casual days when they make a contribution to the organization’s charity.
-¢ Allow your employees to set aside contributions from each payroll through payroll deduction.
-¢ Look into cooperative opportunities with businesses for vendors you may work with. It never hurts to ask.
It’s a Commitment
Community involvement is definitely a commitment, and on a lesser note, can over time develop a powerful form of advertising - Word of Mouth.
Brenda G. Smith is a human resources manager at OMNI Community Credit Union in Battle Creek. OMNI was an elite winner in the Community Initiatives category for West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Smith has worked for OMNI for 34 years, the past 20 years in the HR arena, and has a great passion for the uniqueness of credit unions. She can be reached at [email protected].