By Marissa Fayer, President, Fayer Consulting
Much of our work in the medtech world is built on a desire to help others and improve people’s lives, which is one of the most admirable areas in which to work. And frankly, in medtech, we are good at it; we deliver incredible breakthrough and lifesaving technology every single day.
But, as part of the outsourcing and offshoring community, we collectively take a lot from local communities, and often forget what enables us to reap such financial and strategic benefits. Philanthropy is, at its core, charitable giving and/or doing without the expectation of a monetary return on investment, performed to promote the wellbeing of others and/or to solve a social issue.
Giving back to the communities in which we live and work should be a cornerstone of the outsourcing/offshoring relationship, but often gets overlooked. The benefits of reduced labor costs, reduced overhead, an efficient workforce, and a dedication often surpassing U.S. markets come at a cost. Giving back to the communities that help your business thrive is a way to show your thanks and appreciation, which often is more valuable to the workers - and the community - than a simple increase in wages.
This series has spoken in great detail about the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring, as well as how to maximize your businesses’ efficiency in the process. Here, we will explain a few ways to give back to the communities in which we work.
1. Donate Your Time By Volunteering — Make the community a better place for your employees and their families; build a school, buy annual school supplies, donate food to a homeless or women’s shelter, or clean up the beaches or a highway. By making an effort to improve the day-to-day lives of your employees and their families, the benefits of worker dedication and reduced turnover will greatly improve your profits.
2. Host Intern And Mentoring Programs — Developing a source of real-world work experience and preparing future employees is an inexpensive and valuable way to give back. Not only are you training the work force of the future for the industry and (perhaps) the company, you are also increasing participants’ skill level and providing valuable work experience they need to achieve education milestones and fulfill academic requirements. The additional benefit to employees is inexpensive, additional help, and a vehicle for the coaches/mentors to increase their leadership skills.
3. Allocate A Percentage Of Profits To Create A Sustainable Benefit Program/Society — A group of employees representing each area of the company should decide which community or cause the company will support, making the beneficiary a collective choice by the employees, rather than a corporate manifesto. The adage, “The better we do, the more we give back” makes everyone work a little bit harder, knowing that money and/or resources will come back to their community or a cause the company supports. This leads to increased productivity. A fun way to implement this idea is through internal contests for each department — for example, “most productive production line,” which in reality makes all of your production lines more productive, or “highest cost reduction project implementation per quarter per department,” which indirectly creates additional costs reductions for the company).
4. Host An Event For Employees And Their Families, And Fundraise Around It — If you’re in Latin America, have a charity soccer (football!) tournament or a dance night, and sell raffle tickets or hold a 50/50 drawing. If your employees like to run, create a marathon team with team fundraising goals. Looking for a bit less cardio? Hold a ping-pong tournament for employees, coupled with a pot-lock lunch; perhaps solicit food or charitable donations for the charitable organization your employees have chosen. Or, make employees’ families your own by hosting a family fun day, where workers can bring their families to meet their bosses and coworkers in an environment of games, rides, and food. Showing your employees appreciation, and that you value their hard work, is a key retention tool.
5. Support Disaster Relief During/After Emergencies — Many outsourcing partnerships operate in areas where natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or drought) can debilitate a community. If such a situation arises, help to provide relief in the form of medical goods, clothes, temporary shelter, or food. These efforts can also come from the corporate office, which has a greater ability to give, creating goodwill among employees and their community/country.
6. Partner With Like-Minded Philanthropic Organizations — Find an organization that can benefit from the products you manufacture and has the ability to distribute them to places of greater need. Find an organization that your company aligns with, matching similar ethics and beliefs. Partnerships are often the most seamless ways to make a great impact, as the non-profits have completed all of the ground work and will take control of administration. The corporation simply needs to provide the product, which is tax-deductible and, often, already written-off inventory, thus creating a seamless transfer of assets to benefit an area in need without the legal and financial ramifications of setting up a sales and service center.
Giving back doesn’t always have to come in the form of money or goods. Time, effort, and “paying it forward” create an atmosphere of mutual admiration and appreciation which, in the long run, have proven to be more valuable than raising wages by a few cents. Per a poignant article published in Harvard Business Review, “using philanthropy to enhance context brings social and economic goals into alignment and improves a company’s long-term business prospects.” The article’s authors further mention that “boosting social and economic conditions in developing countries can create more productive locations for a company’s operations as well as new markets for its products.”
Philanthropy doesn’t just benefit those who receive; the donors oftent benefit as much as the recipients. The feelings of joy, of helpfulness, and of acting with benevolent purpose have similar endorphin reactions as those of receiving. Imagine how increases in engagement, productivity, and retention affect the value and profitability of a company, simply because the employees believe in the company for which they work, and see it gives back to the communities in which they live. Sounds like a win-win for all, which makes we wonder why more companies haven’t made philanthropy part of their pillars for growth and profitability.
About The Author
Marissa Fayer is president of Fayer Consulting, a global consulting business helping small to midsize medical device companies reduce their costs and increase their profits. The firm specializes in manufacturing relocations, project management, high performing team development, and optimization of operations.
Marissa is also the CEO and founder of HERHealthEQ, a global non-profit with the mission to provide medical devices and equipment to small regions in developing nations through programs that instill access to education and healthcare as a means to enforce social and gender equality. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and on Twitter @MKFayer.