The Power of Employee-Led Community Development
Berkshire Bank is known for our unique culture and entrepreneurial approach to helping customers reach life’s exciting milestones. “Life is exciting. Let us help.” is more than a marketing slogan. It’s our conviction. And being an integral part of the communities in our footprint is at the center of it all. Our employees, at every level of our organization, have the passion and desire to help improve the quality of life in our communities. And at Berkshire, we give them the tools to succeed with our corporate volunteer program.
Giving back is part of our DNA, and we know that businesses across the globe have the power to affect change by leveraging their human capital through corporate volunteer programs. According to America’s Charities Snapshot 2015 report, 92% of large companies offer some type of formal corporate volunteer opportunities. A similar study in 2017 found that outside of pay and career opportunity, the number one benefit employees valued most was paid time off to volunteer. It’s clear employees are interested in programs that provide opportunities to connect with their community, but they also want a voice in doing so. Effective volunteer programs not only engage employees, they support retention, skills, and talent development, and provide numerous other benefits.
Berkshire launched its corporate volunteer program, the XTEAM tm in 2008 as another way to give back to the community. It positions our employees at the center of that program, understanding that today’s employee cares about the community around them. The program is a proof point that deeply connects community service to our brand, business, and core purpose.
Today, our program boasts 100% employee participation nationally. As a result of participation, 24% of employees indicated they developed new business relationships. Additionally, those who participate have a higher likelihood of staying with the company, and our non-profit partners reported they were able to redirect financial resources to mission critical projects and serve more individuals. Last year alone, our XTEAM tm directly impacted more than 500,000 people in our footprint.
Achieving that success is no small accomplishment considering the rapid growth Berkshire experienced during the same period. The XTEAM tm has gained national recognition, including being nominated as a finalist for this year’s U.S. Chamber Foundation Citizens Awards. The XTEAM’s tm milestones were made possible by our employee volunteers. We could not be more proud of our teams’ unwavering commitment to using their time, skills, and expertise to positively impact communities across the country.
You can learn more about these efforts at the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Conference in Washington, DC. I will be joining other thought leaders in a panel discussion regarding Employee-Led Community Development on Wednesday, November 15.