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Giving Back and Receiving

By Steve Guglielmo

Since I began working with MHEDA about nine years ago, the association has started some really cool initiatives. From the Women in Industry MHEDA-NET Group and Conference, the Learning Management System, Regional Networking Meetings and countless other member offerings that MHEDA has introduced, I feel like I’ve had a front row seat to a very evolutionary time for the association.

But to me, the coolest and most impactful thing that we’ve done as an association is the introduction of MHEDA Gives Back events at Convention and other face-to-face conferences. There’s something so rewarding about taking part in those Give Back events. Knowing that you’re making a difference in somebody’s life is an incredible feeling. And the MHEDA staff and Board always do an incredible job of finding a great cause. That feeling always sticks with me for a while.

This year, we’ve decided to shine a spotlight on the community-service efforts of our MHEDA members. You’ll see on pages 15-21 how each of our Board of Directors and MBOA Members get involved in their companies. Starting with the 2nd Quarter 2019 issue, we’ll be debuting a new feature called “MHEDA Gives Back” that will be a one-page spotlight on a different company each issue and how they get involved in their local community.

I’m writing this column just after Thanksgiving and am now shifting into the Christmas spirit. My parents always used to tell me that as you get older, you get more excited to give presents than to receive them. And, of course, I never believed them, because getting presents is the best. But as I’ve gotten older and started a family of my own, sure enough, I am much more excited to give the presents that I’ve picked out to people than about anything I might get.

I always felt the same way when I heard companies say things like “We get as much as give” when talking about community services. That always struck me as a platitude. But there is absolutely something to be said for being part of a company that is intimately involved with their community. The MHEDA Board has included this in their Material Handling Business Trends for the last several years, saying, “It is important for members to appreciate how giving back to their local communities can positively impact their organizations.”

I read an article recently in Fortune called “Why Companies That Give Back Also Receive.” It had personal stories from organizations on the Fortune “2018 Best Workplaces for Giving Back” list. But it also included a very interesting piece of information.

“Our study of several hundred companies and more than 380,000 employees in conjunction with this list revealed that giving back is associated with greater employee retention, higher levels of brand ambassadorship on the part of workers and more enthusiastic employees. Staffers who believe their organizations give back to the community are a striking 13 times more likely to look forward to coming to work, compared to employees who do not perceive their employers to be generous toward the community.”

This echoes the sentiments from our Board and MBOA members, including Fairchild Equipment President Van Clarkson, who said, “When people know they are giving back, they are happier and more joyful employees and when they see we are supporting the communities in which they live, they are proud to work here.”

From the article, “The winners on the Best Workplaces for Giving Back aren’t just big-hearted. They are inclusive. Companies earned a spot on the ranking in part based on the level of their charitable giving. But winners also were selected for how consistently employees feel a sense of pride in their organizations’ community involvement across job levels, tenure and demographic categories such as age, race and gender.”

MHEDA members are consistently involved in exactly this type of charitable giving and community involvement. If you have a story you’d like to share, please tweet @MHEDA_Journal and we may feature you in an upcoming “MHEDA Gives Back” column.