Refocus on giving back by volunteering

With the fall season well underway, many minds turn toward the approaching holidays. And while some folks think of apple pies, roasting meals and sparkling décor, at Molina, it is a time to refocus our efforts on how we give back to our communities to help those in need.

For many people, opportunities to give back arise at work — and for many companies this makes good business sense.

The 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey of employed adults found that employees ages 21-35 who participated frequently in workplace volunteer activities were almost twice as likely to consider themselves “very satisfied” with their career progression.

It stands to reason, then, that many job seekers look for companies offering built-in opportunities to volunteer. And companies like Molina Healthcare — which offers 16 hours of paid time off annually to volunteer — are at the top of their lists.

More than a buzzword

Though “corporate social responsibility” is a popular buzzword in 2016, for mission-driven companies like Molina, it is much more than that.

Molina sees community involvement as a key way to build both consumer and employee loyalty. The company actively works to improve the communities where it serves, and employee volunteerism has been shown to be an innovative way to strengthen employee relationships and maintain morale.

We have found that community involvement events, such as the annual Thanksgiving food giveaways we hold in our key service areas, help cement relationships and enforce cooperation that benefits all aspects of our business.

Ideas to take back to the office

Molina offers several community volunteer opportunities that might serve as a model for other companies looking to capitalize on the efficiencies and positive morale wrought through employee volunteerism.

In October, we participate in Make a Difference Day, which encourages people across the country to participate in a day of service. This year we held an event about safe sleep to help improve local infant mortality rates because Ohio’s rate is well above the national average, and we want to help turn that around.

Smaller efforts pay off too — Molina encourages employees to serve meals at local food banks or adopt a family for the holidays. Employees in our Columbus office have participated in diaper drives for low income families, and in Cincinnati employees recently helped refurbish a local park with new exercise equipment.

Start small

Beginning a corporate social responsibility effort doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

For any company looking to expand opportunities for their employees, I recommend starting small.

Look for one local organization that is already doing good work in the community and ask how an organized team of people might help out. If nothing else, offering employees a few hours of paid time to volunteer and a list of local opportunities will pay dividends.

Giving back to the community that supports your business? That’s smart business.

Ami Cole is the President of Molina Healthcare of Ohio, the state’s second largest Medicaid Managed Care Plan with 337,000 members. Ami has more than 17 years of health care experience, including nearly 10 years at Molina before rising to become president. She is also active in the community, serving as a board member for the nonprofit After-School All-Stars.