It was August 28th, 2005. Hurricane Katrina was slamming the southern coast of the United States with her destructive effect. It is estimated that more then 1,800 people lost their lives, and that there was in excess of $80 billion dollars in damage.
As corporate engineers working out of Dallas, we wondered how our co-workers were coping at our chemical plants in Louisiana, at their homes, or wherever they had evacuated to. Hurricane procedures and plans had been put into effect and safe shutdowns of the processing units had been ongoing way before the hurricane hit, but nothing was to prepare for the social and industrial infrastructure devastation. After the hurricane, the communication channels opened up slowly through satellite phones.
High level meetings were being held to get an understanding of the damage levels, the infrastructure capabilities, and the potential to get our chemical plants up and running. It was on one of these conference calls when production capability was being discussed that someone in senior management interrupted the conversation and stated, “Folks, lets focus on helping our employees first.” Those words struck a cord on the conference call. They are words that I will remember.
Since then, there have been other major storms hitting places such as Houston, Texas. I have never experienced the wrath of a hurricane, but I ask people to tell me how they coped in their time of need. I hear stories of our company purchasing a stockpile of electrical generators, storing them, and transporting them to hurricane zones for employee families to use. I hear stories of interest free loans of up to $10,000 to help people repair homes. I hear of supplies of food and fuel which is used to keep employees and their families fed, and also help them get their lives back together. I hear about employees turning up at each other’s homes to help with repairs. I read about huge corporate donations of money helping communities recover.
As an engineer, I deal with my fair share of stress, frustrations, and even occasional annoyance at the company I work for, when things are not going my way. Sometimes I have to mentally “unplug my negativity” and see that progress is being made, and that there are a whole lot of things to be proud of.
This article is about the importance of being proud of the company you work for, why businesses should always look for ways to positively impact the communities and world, and communicate them to all employees.
Some Of The Things That Immediately Come To Mind That Make Me Proud Include:
• The company I work for manufactures chlorine which is used in widespread applications. The year 2008 was the 100th year anniversary of the use of chlorine for treating water. In the early 1900’s, the average life expectancy in the USA was in the range of 49 years, whereas now it is in the range of 75+ years. Chlorine treatment of water has significantly helped increase the lifespan by minimizing the spread of diseases such as typhoid.
• The organization provides rent free corporate office space to a charity cancer research organization.
• They have employees organizing United Way fundraising events with prizes and fun activities. This happens at the corporate and chemical plant level, and encourages all employees to participate.
• They support and help organize blood donation events.
• Upper management recently sent out an e-mail to communicate how an employee who had been trained in CPR by a chemical plant nurse had recently resuscitated someone involved in a swimming pool accident.
• The corporation supports local high schools. They provide interns with the opportunity to get workplace experience.
Why Get People Focused On The Positive Impact Of A Company Or Business?
• The Great Place To Work Institute surveys over 80,000 employees a year to help develop a list of the 100 Best Companies To Work For. When employees from the best companies are asked why they consider their company a great place to work, one of the top 10 responses is “our company has a profound impact which affects the lives of everyone in the world.”
• Employees will tend to be more energized and engaged if they feel that the work that they do is important to the company, and the products or services the company provides are important to the world.
• Recently, I was talking to a woman about great workplaces. She works for a marketing company and was very exuberant when she stated that she loves her job, loves her boss, and loves the company she works for. She then went on to state that if her business was to ask her to sign a lifetime employment contract, she would do it without hesitating! Would your company or business benefit from employees that “fall in love with the company” and are upbeat, energized and loyal?
What Can You Do To Get A Positive Message Out To Your Employees?
• Organize a periodic newsletter that you can include positive stories
• Develop a web page that is used to capture examples
• Use the company e-mail system to communicate
• Encourage employees to share thoughts and stories
• Identify company “champions” to manage submitted information and communicate it
Dave Hill is a speaker, author, coach, and award-winning storyteller. He was also a finalist in the 2004 World Championship of Public Speaking.
He helps people develop excellence in presentation skills. Picture engineers, computer programmers and project managers delivering clear concise information, with flair and energy, illuminated with stories and even humor.
Dave’s passion is to work with employees and leaders who will benefit from excellence in presentation skills. He conducts keynote speeches, seminars, workshops, and coaching.
He is the author of the book Applause and Accolades – Attention-Grabbing Presentation Skills: Get Noticed and Promoted. The hardcopy version can be purchased at: https://davehillspeaks.com/applause-accolades-book/. The Kindle, Nook and E-book versions can be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and I-Tunes.
Dave is known for his Irish wit, stories, and strong sense of humor, which he incorporates into all his programs and published works.
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