Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to affirm our conviction in the golden rule and the law of sowing and reaping: doing good unto others and expecting good to return to us. But more than a good idea, doing good is also a shrewd business strategy.
Researchers tell us that companies that invest their time, talent and resources to improve their communities enjoy considerably higher employee engagement, customer loyalty and revenue, among other benefits. On the flipside, businesses that fail to engage their local communities have a harder time competing, attracting talent and buyers.
Below are research-backed, compelling reasons to consider expanding your company’s community engagement, plus thoughts on getting started or “upping” your game with OneZone’s help.
Increased Employee Engagement & Retention
Engaged employees are good for business. “Engaged employees will go the extra mile to ensure your company keeps winning,” writes Alexandra Cavalluzzi, an HR expert, for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). When your company demonstrates social responsibility in the community, “these folks want your company to do well because they understand that when the company wins, everyone wins,” she explains.
The offshoot? “Research by the Corporate Executive Board involving millions of employees across several industries found that, on average, every employee who participates in corporate community activities adds $2,400 to the value of the company as a result of decreased turnover and increased employee engagement,” writes Yvonne Siu Turner in a report for the nonprofit.
A Deloitte survey cited in the same report says millennials are 200% as likely to be happy with their career progression when they can volunteer through their employer, and 24% are more likely to recommend their employer to a friend if it has a strong culture of community involvement.
Cavalluzzi notes community engagement is especially important when employees are spread out in various locations: “As any HR leader in a company with multiple locations knows, the further you move away from headquarters, the more isolated and disconnected employees tend to feel.” Rallying employees around a cause can combat that, fostering a sense of inclusiveness and shared purpose.
Increased Customer Loyalty & Spend
Purpose is aligned with profit, reports The Conference Board. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans are more likely to buy a product associated with a corporate-nonprofit partnership and will travel an extra 10 minutes out of their way to purchase a product that supports a cause. About 7 out of 10 buyers are willing to pay more for that product too.
That shouldn’t be a surprise. “Increasingly, people are expressing their support for [organizations] through their choice of work, purchases, and investments,” the report states.
Better Ability to Compete
“Companies with more community engagement practices significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, in terms of both stock market and accounting performance,” reports The Conference Board, referring to Harvard Business School findings.
But even when value is hard to measure, your company should invest in community involvement simply because your competitors do, and your employees can go to 200 other firms that believe in community involvement, argues The CPA Journal.
Put simply, the cost of doing nothing is great. Plus, your business can’t thrive if your community is failing.
Crafting Your Community Engagement Strategy
Aligning company goals, employee interests and community needs is a great starting point. So is asking employees about causes they care about and giving them a say in how your organization can make a difference. These discussions can lead to “done-in-a-day” programs, pro-bono work, rallying around pending legislation, serving on boards, and more.
Among companies with advanced community engagement programs, some include community engagement work in performance reviews for at least some of their employees. Community investments range from cash grants to in-kind donations, employee time and skills, and advocacy positions on social issues, reports The Conference Board.
How OneZone Helps
Each month, OneZone provides updates and opportunities for members to learn, facilitate and advocate for positive changes in our communities.
Earlier this month, we discussed local needs and developments in our Legislative Breakfast, paying special attention to our 2020 Legislative Advocacy Priorities.
(Now is a great time to register for our March Legislative Breakfast, by the way!)
Each Thursday, we keep you informed with Three for Thursday: bite-sized commentary on the latest legislative developments and why they matter. We also make it easy for you to find meeting agendas and contacts for the Cities of Carmel and Fishers, right here.
Finally, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to register for upcoming member events when you can get to know your peers and fine-tune your sense of what’s happening in the communities you serve, and how you can help lead solutions.
Need some guidance? We’re at your service.
Send a request to fellow OneZone members, or drop us a note for an introduction or assistance.
We would like to welcome our January new members. Thank you for your support of OneZone.
Kathy Krusie, Senior Vice President; Chief Administrative Officer has been named Chair of OneZone’s 2020 Board of Directors.
2020 Executive Committee:
Kathy Krusie, Community Health Network - Chair
Patrick Broccolo, Senior1Care – Chair-elect
Courtney Lloyd, Star Financial Bank – Past Chair
Ranjit Puthran, Allstate Insurance – Secretary
Ryan Mooney, First Merchants Bank – Treasurer
Sam Mishelow, Meyer Najem – At Large
Katie Smardo, The National Bank of Indianapolis – At Large
New 2020 board members:
Séamus Boyce, Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim
Jenny Drewry, Sun King Brewing Company
Michael Hart, J.C. Hart
Doug True, FORUM Credit Union
Deborah Wintner, Stanley Security
Returning 2020 board members:
Sydney Blumenthal, Old National Bank
Julie Manas, Ascension/St. Vincent
Jeryl Mitsch, Mitsch Design
John Wick, NextGear Capital
By: Jeffrey Marston, VP of Business Services, Comcast Business
Cybersecurity attacks have become a destructive and all too common occurrence. And the harsh reality is that no organization is too large – or too small – to be a target.
While cyberattacks facing large corporations and government entities may dominate headlines, small businesses are victim to the majority of cybersecurity breaches. In fact, nearly half of small businesses in the United States suffered a cyberattack in 2017, according to a recent study.
Cybersecurity attacks are constantly evolving to accommodate the latest technologies. Small businesses contend with several existing and emerging internet-related threats, including malware, ransomware, phishing and botnet infections.
Faced with increased competition and restricted resources, it is easy to imagine the daunting challenge small businesses face to defend themselves from nefarious cyber actors. But as the threat landscape becomes increasingly sophisticated and prevalent, small businesses cannot afford inaction.
Small Business’ Path to Cyber Safety
For businesses large and small it’s less about “if” a breach will happen and more about “when” it will happen. That’s why it’s best to invest in protection and prevention before a crippling attack occurs. According to security firm Kaspersky, the average cost of a breach in North America is $149,000. Just as damaging, the loss in public trust and reputation can be irreparable.
Cybersecurity keeps business owners up at night because they face an onslaught of challenges, from various, ever-changing forms of cyberthreats that can result in the loss of sensitive information or the disruption of business operations. When it comes to defending against cybersecurity threats, owners need solutions that can protect all devices connected to their networks without straining budgets.
In the past, cybersecurity tools were developed to suit the needs of larger companies, which have the money and resources available to deploy complex solutions and continually enhance security networks. Now, many small businesses are turning to cloud-based internet security solutions that are engineered to help them effectively manage the growing risk of cyberattacks while maximizing resources without compromising security.
In many cases, small businesses have already established a digital infrastructure but lack the bandwidth to expand it further. Using cybersecurity technology that can be built into existing hardware offers these businesses an all-in-one solution that requires no additional investments in equipment or setup. To further maximize their cybersecurity investments, small businesses can look for tools that automatically cover all connected devices on their networks, from mobile phones to wireless printers, without requiring new software installations.
Comprehensive cybersecurity solutions shouldn’t just protect small businesses against external breaches – tools that block access to compromised or malicious domains can help prevent business owners, employees, or guests from accidentally accessing an infected internet site. Businesses with little to no IT support can also look for tools with dashboards and features that can be customized based on their needs. For example, a tool that allows owners to filter web content will give them more visibility into their network safety.
The ability to gather insights from cybersecurity solutions is critical, but sometimes there is not enough time in a fast-paced work day to pull a threat assessment. Tools that automatically update internet domain threats in real-time can protect companies from attacks without needing manual downloads or updates. Your business works hard to carve out a competitive space – your cybersecurity tools should be a hassle-free addition to the workplace.
To learn more about Comcast Business security solutions, please call or email:
734-277-9910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Merchants Bank of Indiana and Four Day Ray shared the honor of being named Business of the Year at OneZone’s December 11th awards luncheon at Ritz Charles. Business of the Year awards were given to recognize a small- to medium-sized business and a large business.
Awards were also presented for young professional of the year, volunteer of the year, new construction, renovation and, green award. There was also the Harold Kaiser Lifetime Achievement Award and the Difference Maker Award.
Business of the Year Awards
Business of the Year is presented to businesses based on their success in growth and stability, commitment to quality, creative and unique solutions to challenges, entrepreneurial spirit and overall contribution to the community
The Business of the Year award for a small- to medium-sized business was presented to Four Day Ray. Four Day Ray is a local craft brewery in Fishers. They opened their doors in 2016 with the focus on their community and making Fishers a world class city.
Merchants Bank of Indiana was honored with the Business of the Year award for a large business. Merchants Bank of Indiana was Founded in 1990, Merchants Bancorp is a diversified bank holding company headquartered in Carmel, Indiana operating multiple lines of business, including Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) multi-family housing and healthcare facility financing and servicing; mortgage warehouse financing; retail and correspondent residential mortgage banking; agricultural lending; and traditional community banking.
Young Professional of the Year Award
The Young Professional of the Year Award recognizes a business person between the ages of 21 and 40 who has demonstrated leadership and passion for making a difference in his community based on leadership, mentorship, community involvement and entrepreneurship.
Erik Braden, Braden Business Systems, received the Young Professional of the Year award. Erik spent much of his early career on Wall Street, specializing in Mergers & Acquisitions and working in a competitive and challenging environment. It was there that he cut his teeth in the business atmosphere and returned to his home in central Indiana. Erik joined Braden Business Systems 4 years ago. During his time at Braden he successfully led the project to build their new headquarters in Fishers, led four acquisitions to increase headcount and revenue, while expanding the organization's footprint further into the Midwest, and is involved with a local Young Presidents Organization which has proven very successful.
Volunteer of the Year Award
The Volunteer of the Year award was established to celebrate and recognize outstanding volunteer contributions by individuals who also work full time.
This year’s recipient is Adam Aasen, Donatello’s Italian Restaurant. Adam is a small business owner in downtown Carmel. Adam has been an active volunteer for organizations including, Carmel Rotary Club, Humane Society of Hamilton County, Chaucie’s Place, the Carmel Education Foundation, and helps organize the Hamilton County Young Republicans Annual Toy Drive.
New Construction Award
Nominees for new construction and renovation were judged on the quality of work, appropriateness of the construction to its surroundings and the contribution of the project to the overall look of the community.
This year’s winner of the New Construction Award is KAR Global. Headquartered in Carmel, Indiana, KAR has more than 15,000 employees and maintains business units across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the UK and Europe. The 13-acresite, 250,000 square-foot office building features an open floorplan and broad collaborative workspaces. The building was designed to reflect both the company’s rich auto auction history and their international and technology-driven growth. Contributing to the project were RATIO Architects, Shiel Sexton, Gaylor Electric, Ice Miller, Ginovus, CBRE Group, PURE Development, US Realty.
This year’s winner of the Renovation Award is The Bluffs at Conner Prairie. In April 2019, Conner Prairie reopened the restored Chinese House with two important additions: the Lilly Legacy and The Bluffs at Conner Prairie. The new Lilly Legacy Room reflects on Mr. Lilly’s passion of preservation, and his blending of Western and Eastern cultures to create a place of harmony that has had a lasting impact on Conner Prairie. The Bluffs at Conner Prairie is a 275-seat banquet facility that expands the Lilly legacy of Conner Prairie as a special gathering place. Contributing to the project include RATIO Architects, Brandt Construction, and Ritz Charles.
The Green Award recognizes an organization, company or association that is solving environmental challenges using innovative and green practices or by setting up creative partnerships to enhance the environment.
This year’s award was presented to Hamilton Southeaster School District. HSE installed 4,800 solar panels in 2019. These arrays have an annual predicted production of 2,385,600kWhs. This will power three of the 23 in the district. The solar arrays are projected to help save the district over $7 million dollars over 20 years. The incorporation of solar arrays will also help HSE avoid releasing 1,318 metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly. The arrays are also being utilized in the curriculum. Hamilton Southeastern’s Energy Manager has spoken to over 2,000 students this year about the opportunities the solar arrays have provided for the school.
Lifetime Achievement and Difference Maker Awards
The Harold Kaiser Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual from Carmel and the Difference Maker Award is presented to an individual from Fishers in recognition of their commitment to business in these communities.
The Harold Kaiser Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an individual from Carmel, was presented to Mark Westermeier, Former Director of Parks at the City of Carmel. Westermeier was named Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Director in 2004. During his 15 years at Parks Director he has been a part of the Extended School Enrichment at Carmel Clay Schools; helped open the Monon Community Center and added Central Park, Hazel Landing Park, Founders Park, and West Park. During his time as director the Carmel Clay Parks achieve 100% cost recovery.
Mike Reuter, was presented the Difference Maker Award for Fishers. Reuter has been the Chief Financial Officer for Hamilton Southeastern Schools since 1994. During his time at HSE he has seen the school district grow to be the fourth largest in the state of Indiana. A valued expert on school funding, Reuter has played instrumental roles in the district’s referendum success.
If it seems as if every election these days includes a school referendum, you're right. When Indiana shifted public school funding away from property taxes, that moved Carmel Clay Schools from near the top of funding dollars received to the bottom.
That change means some of the highest-performing public schools, including CCS, need voter support to add programs they need. We’re not the Lone Ranger; several other states, including Ohio, use this method. If you’d like to learn how Indiana got to the current funding method, you can learn more from Hamilton Southeastern CFO Mike Reuter on the OneZone website – (onezonecommerce.com; September 19th 3 for Thursday).
The request this fall is to fund a school resource officer in every Carmel school, in addition to mental health professionals and programs to ensure every student in our schools has access to help in their school. School resource officers are much more than safety professionals. They’re mentors and relationship-builders too.
OneZone supports the school referendum. As a chamber of commerce, why do we care? Because high-performing schools remain one of the biggest reasons businesses choose to locate here and stay here. Great public schools matter. Fortunately, ours are strong and safe. Let’s keep them that way for all our students. We strongly encourage you to vote yes on November 5th.
You’re young, skilled and hungry for professional growth. How do you fast-track your progress?
In this post, we share simple but effective ways to build fruitful connections and a reputation as someone who’s worthy of trust and opportunities.
Build your network before you need it.
Yes, networking. While the concept of networking strikes fear in many of us (particularly introverts) — it’s really a low-pressure, high-return effort when done correctly.
Put simply, fruitful networking isn’t about asking for things, necessarily. Most of the time, it’s about giving: being generous with your time, expertise and contacts, much like you’d treat guests in your home.
Earlier this year, we wrote about three ways to increase your networking ROI. Give that a read and enjoy the open doors that follow.
Much has changed about how we make buying decisions from just a few years ago. Now that more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush, our craving for instant access, gratification and personalization continues to sway how buyers choose offerings like yours.
With that in mind, we dug into recent market studies to highlight trends you’ll want to keep in mind as you fine-tune your marketing and customer retention strategies.
Aside from the convenience factor, one-click checkouts remove shopper indecision and cart abandonment — “both major revenue losses for all retailers,” reports CMO by Adobe. One-click payments also save shoppers from having to enter personal data and pull out their credit cards on-the-go, like sitting in a doctor’s office or waiting for their meal at a restaurant.
With Amazon’s 1-Click patent expiring in 2017, we’ve seen more and more retailers offering one-click payments. Whether you’re selling tchotchkes or asking prospects to book a free consultation, it’s smart to remove as many steps, clicks or obstacles as possible that can delay that “yes.”
Enhanced (and data-driven) customer experiences
A couple of years ago, researchers predicted customer experiences would soon be the greatest competitive advantage driving sales — more so than price, product features or other attributes. (We wrote about that here.)
Brands are paying attention. Earlier this year, a Forrester Consulting study found “80% of business decision makers said improving their company’s customer experience was among their top priorities for the year ahead.” Expect a greater focus on using data to deliver personalization, immersive mobile experiences, and a single view of the customer across industries — all “in an ethical manner to earn trust,” reports CMO by Adobe.
Trendwatching, which analyzes global buying behaviors and advises brands from Google to Unilever and Disney, points us to wellbeing challenges that carry opportunities for businesses to impact the health and happiness of consumers.
The report, titled The Future of Wellbeing, cites two epidemics that influence buying behavior:
Consider ways your organization can counter both concerns: alleviate stressors or tripping points that can hurt the way users experience your product or service, and reduce your environmental footprint. (Trendwatching has specific examples and recommendations in this free version of their report.)
For tactics more specific to your business and audience, consider any patterns you’ve observed over the past year:
As you identify weak spots, look for ways to remove sources of confusion, delays or difficulties that could turn off customers. Even better: Ask customers directly — not just once, but habitually, and continue to refine their experience accordingly.
In business and life, most doors are opened through networking. You know you should get to know more people, but your plate’s already full and it’s hard to fit in another event. Often, we neglect networking until we can’t anymore, because meeting new clients, connecting with a dream mentor, scoring a job or promotion all hinge on relationships.
Below we’ll cover three simple habits to make your networking more meaningful and fruitful — both for you and the people you connect with. No new revelations here: just common-sense reminders you might be neglecting in the midst of busyness.
American business thrives on competition. Being named the best restaurant in town is meaningless if there’s only one restaurant in town. All businesses ask for is a level playing field, and a chance to compete fairly. When that happens, all businesses’ opportunities can rise.
That’s why we believe the City of Carmel is doing the right thing by demanding that the Lucas Oil estate either obtain the proper zoning to operate an event facility or stop doing so. The banquet/event space business is big, but it’s also tough, and our members who provide such services continually invest in their businesses to remain competitive. They get permits when they add to their facilities, and they make certain they are zoned properly for their business activities.
If the Lucas Oil property wants to join the competition – great. They’ll be welcome. But they need to abide by the same rules everybody else has to follow to do so, and zoning is one of them. It’s simply bad for business to allow an unlevel playing field to continue.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.