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Creating a Culture of Service

Limited labor has been a core issue for the glass industry for years. Recruitment, training and retention are at the heart of a company’s concerns, as evidenced by Glass Magazine’s Workforce Development series, which has shone a light on these issues.

While creating a great company culture is just one aspect of attracting and retaining employees, it is a critical one. Millennials are the largest generation to hit the workforce and research shows they are more engaged and inspired by a company culture centered on a purpose other than making money, and a focus on community involvement rather than compensation.

As you aim to create a great company culture within your business, a focus on community involvement should be top of mind—going beyond profits and productivity to make a positive impact on the communities in which you work, and in turn, creating a culture of service within your business. Here are some key steps to making this a reality for your company.

  1. Focus your efforts. A philanthropic mission brings clarity to what your business hopes to achieve within the community. It can be as simple as creating an area of philanthropic focus like the environment, for example, and then identifying and becoming involved in relevant events and activities within your community.
    At YKK AP, our “I Am an Architect” platform helps us to remain focused on our industry while better educating young children and students about the importance of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). We sponsor the AIA Atlanta High School Design Competition, as well as local robotics competitions in the Macon and Dublin, Georgia, areas, where our manufacturing facilities are located. 
  2. Empower your leaders. According to Deloitte, “71 percent of Millennials are likely to leave the workplace within two years if they are dissatisfied with their leadership development.” Empower your employees to become leaders in creating a culture of service. By having autonomy to lead outreach efforts, they gain leadership skills while becoming “champions” for the cause, breeding a culture of service within the organization.
    YKK AP recently created “Foundation Crewe,” a group of employees that regularly initiates and plans community events. Recently, the Crewe participated in the Keep Cobb Beautiful Adopt-A-Mile Program, in which employees and their family members gathered to help improve their stretch of adopted highway in Cobb County, Georgia.
  3. Engage your employees. Engaging employees of all skill levels is critical to creating a company-wide culture of service. At YKK AP, a “Voice of the Employee” survey takes the pulse of our workforce, so that we are better informed in how to best engage them. Employees can become involved when you welcome their ideas for involvement and recognize them for their efforts. They may also be more engaged in the company by joining a committee to help plan events or participating in events.
  4. Recognize your team members. By showing that you value individual and team efforts, you are showing appreciation while enforcing your company’s dedication to serving the community. A little goes a long way, whether it is a company-wide email or a social media post to show your company’s strong sense of teamwork and community; your employees will be encouraged knowing their efforts are appreciated.

Creating a culture of service takes time to develop, and it’s important to regularly share with and engage employees in finding their higher purpose. By focusing your efforts, empowering and engaging your team members, and recognizing the small wins throughout you will have a positive impact on the communities in which you work.

Patrys Wiid is vice president of organizational excellence at YKK AP America Inc.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.