This post is a part of our “Standing on the Platform for Good” series. For the original essay please see “Building a Platform for Good: Creating Value While Adding Value.”
Sometimes the best example of a company adding value to their community is the result of an associate being passionate about a specific cause. When opportunities to support the community arise organically from within an organization, the experience can be all the more rewarding. When a company embraces their ability to add value to others lives, and maintains a flexible corporate social responsibility (CSR) or shared value strategy that allows for them to meet needs when they arise, their ability to do good knows no boundaries.
Someone who knows about the benefits of this strategy firsthand is Laurie, an associate since 2009. During her first interview with Benefitfocus, she heard about our core values and the importance we place on community service. While that resonated with her, it wasn’t until later that she realized Benefitfocus associates are the type to walk the walk—literally.
In 2008 Laurie’s daughter was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). At the time she knew nothing of the disease or what to expect, and she was eager to join a local support group. She was dismayed to learn no such local groups existed, so she decided to assemble a PKD Foundation chapter to create the network she sought.
One of the biggest fundraisers for the PKD Foundation each year is the annual Walk for PKD. When Laurie and members of her newly formed local chapter were looking to hold their first walk in Charleston in 2009, they knew sponsorship by businesses was a must. Laurie approached her fellow Benefitfocus associates in charge of The Wheel, a voluntary associate-led group who support charitable efforts and sponsorships, and they agreed to sponsor without hesitation.
“I was overjoyed when I got the news that my company would be sponsoring my event!” Laurie told me. But the support didn’t stop there. Many of her fellow associates signed up to sponsor and participate in the walk as well. That support has continued to grow each year since, and Laurie knows she can count on her work community to participate and support her cause.
Though sponsoring the Walk for PKD may not have added to Benefitfocus’ bottom line, it did help create a network for PKD sufferers where there was none before. We helped support something that will continue to add value to people’s lives for years to come. And for Laurie, it cemented her affection for the company and the associates she works with. It makes each day more meaningful, and makes her passionate about contributing to the company’s success.
As Laurie’s experience demonstrates, when a company rallies behind one of their own to affect positive change in the community, it not only can become a powerful force for good, but it also earns an engaged, committed employee advocate. This intersection of business objectives and social responsibility is what lies at the heart of shared value, and intentional or not, it creates value for everyone involved.
For more stories of associates adding value in their communities, please see the following posts from the "Standing on the Platform for Good" blog series: