Want Strong Company Culture? Start Giving Back

About five years ago, I participated in a “core values" exercise with a consultant we brought into the company. As we fleshed out Versique’s core values, “community” stood out to me. Giving back to the community has always been one of my personal core values, and I knew that if we were to build it into our workplace culture, we would have to do it right. It wouldn’t be enough to simply draft up some core values, slap a poster on a wall, have a company meeting and call it good.

Chris Ohlendorf of Versique

Chris Ohlendorf

Interestingly enough, while this core value completely aligns with our culture, my approach to discussing it has evolved in a way that has helped to further define it. Looking at how other organizations tended to take on service initiatives, I was often disappointed in the tendency for community involvement to seem more like an attention-getting enterprise than a genuine concern. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people doing good things, but I’d always taken a more private approach to service.

That being said, at Versique, I am surrounded by people with giving hearts. It has become so ingrained in our culture that we now discuss community involvement when interviewing new candidates and make a point of planning community events that involve not only our employees, but their families as well. And talking about our community initiatives publicly has allowed us to build a team with similar values.

I recently interviewed a candidate we were interested in hiring for our team. During our conversation, the candidate said, “I saw your most recent (volunteer) event on Facebook and it made me want to work for your company even more.” It was a moment that really hit home for me and emphasized how giving back to the community helps develop and drive a strong workplace culture. It also gave me a little more comfort in discussing, and publicizing, the types of events and charities we are involved in. People with giving hearts like to be around others with the same mentality, and working in that type of culture makes my job that much more enjoyable every day.

Does your company have “community” as a core value? How have you seen it build your team?

To learn more about Versique’s community involvement, read the news page on our website or view some of our photos on Facebook.


Chris Ohlendorf is the chief talent officer for Versique Executive Search and Consulting, and McKinley Consulting. He can be reached at cohlendorf@versique.com.