EP 63: How Small Organizations Can Make A Big Impact with Sara Horein

How Small Organizations Can Make A Big Impact

When we are bringing new members into our organizations, it’s essential to ensure that they will align well with our culture and values. One way that an organization might go about this is by having their employees support the community in some way. This could be a blood drive, community work, or some other scenario. Here to help us dive into this topic and share how even the smallest organizations can make an impact is Sara Horein, business owner and American Red Cross volunteer.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • How small companies can make an impact. (4:40)
  • How to get people within your organization to support the community. (7:00)
  • The benefit of praising your staff for their hard work. (12:11)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals:

  • Talk about what your organization is doing. (14:45)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives:

  • Weave your company culture into the community. (13:50)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“Elevate your leaders no matter where they are in the organization.” - @SaraAnneHorein Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to talent optimization today we are chatting about how we attract and retain staff to our organizations, but we’re going to do a fun twist to this.

Traci Scherck: One of the key things that we love about bringing individuals into our organization is ensuring that we have a match specifically with the culture of our organization and a big part of that is giving back to our Community.

Traci Scherck: So with me today is our guest Sarah Horein and Sarah is a business owner with pointed ironworks along with a Community volunteer with American Red Cross so Sarah welcome to the show.

Sara Horein: thanks for having me Tracy.

Sara Horein: Yes.

Traci Scherck: It has been a long time and it’s so fun to catch up so Sarah and I actually grew up together so it’s so fun when you know kind of things cycle back and forth throughout stages of life.

Sara Horein: yeah definitely Tracy and I actually met in the fourth grade when I moved to believe she was my first friend so it’s so good that we are now connecting as adults and business professionals.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, and you know, one of the things that I think is funny how life progresses, is how we actually got reconnected and that was in the middle of covid I got some.

Traci Scherck: You know, random text on linkedin saying hey, would you be interested in volunteering for the Red Cross and I knew, you were a huge supporter and Red Cross volunteer and I reached out and said, what is this is this spam.

Sara Horein: yeah and it was great to get your message I was like what check into this i’m not sure if they are recruiting for this position or not and.

Sara Horein: Sure enough, after a little digging and I found out that they really had a volunteer opportunity that was right up your alley and human resources, so you know for six months, we then worked on a project, together with the red crosswhich was amazing.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely absolutely and you know so telling that story to say you never know when you’re actually recruiting by just reaching out and be like what the heck is this right.

Traci Scherck: So you know when we’re talking about attracting and retaining staff, one of those key things is having that values match within the organization and the individuals that you’re bringing in.

Traci Scherck: And you know so that’s a little bit of what we’re going to talk about here today and Sarah I know you’ve got some great experiences of how you’ve really worked to.

Traci Scherck: Bring valid meaningful volunteer opportunities into organizations and then also bring some you know work that are important to employees inside of poinet, so to say back into the Community and i’m just curious, how did you go about doing that.

Sara Horein: yeah that’s a great question well you know thanks for having me on it i’m in March, and I would be remiss not to to add in that March is Red Cross month which.

Sara Horein: has been declared Red Cross month since 1943 with a proclamation from President Franklin D Roosevelt so it’s been over 75 years that we’ve been celebrating Red Cross month.

Sara Horein: during the month of March, so I just wanted to add in that tidbit before I got dove into how we bring in volunteerism in our organization and one of the ways that we started doing that at point at.

Sara Horein: was doing a blood drive, so my husband and I have acquired point at ironworks about four or five years ago, and when we got in there.

Sara Horein: We really wanted to bring a spirit of volunteerism and fill them in philanthropic activities to point at.

Sara Horein: So, with my experience and volunteerism in the Red Cross, I said hey you know Jeff, what do you think about doing some blood drives that point up.

Sara Horein: We have about 90 employees and and my husband was like I think that’s a great idea, so I reached out to the Red Cross and.

Sara Horein: To see if we could get some blood drives going and come to find out there were no blood drives in the village of pointet.

Sara Horein: or in the surrounding area, so the Red Cross thought it would be a great opportunity to start running blood drives in the village, so what ended up happening was that we.

Sara Horein: Now kind of fast forward two years forward, we are running quarterly blood drives in the village and have about.

Sara Horein: I would say about 80 to 90 people attend the blood drives 30 of those people are employees of point at ironworks and.

Sara Horein: You know I think this is kind of a great story about corporate goodwill and how small companies can make an impact.

Sara Horein: One of the cool things about it, since we are a steel manufacturing company, we can actually host the blood drive in our company, so we have to go to the village Town Hall for the blood drives to occur.

Sara Horein: And one of the things that my husband does is he actually transports our employees over to the village town hall so about three to four employees get in his truck and then drive over to the village town hall and.

Sara Horein: They all think it’s pretty neat to be able to ride in the truck with him and have a little chat with the CEO and then get a ride back so.

Sara Horein: it’s been a I think a win, win, not only for for the company, but for the village and then also for the Red Cross.

Sara Horein: So that’s that’s one way that we’ve kind of given back to the Community.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely and one of those things with any volunteer opportunity right is making it easy for the individuals to actually do the that volunteer opportunity.

Traci Scherck: And, along with volunteering, not only is it goodwill for the employee in the organization, but it’s doing something that’s meaningful, I mean we are in the middle of.

Traci Scherck: You know the the worst blood shortage we’ve ever seen, and so that’s something that we’re seeing right now that’s really important, I know that.

Traci Scherck: So the the campus that i’m on We actually had our first blood drive here a couple months ago.

Traci Scherck: And it’s one of those where it’s so easy, especially when you can do it on site to do that and it’s one of those where you’re actually bringing employees together that they feel.

Traci Scherck: valued and valuable in what they’re doing, and of course that increases employee engagement and retention, so all those things are are really great items to do.

Traci Scherck: And so, one of the other things, Sarah that you had you know talked a little bit about is how do you then talk about you know those volunteer opportunities and really kind of get the buzz about that not only within staff internally, but also within the Community.

Sara Horein: yeah that’s a great question we do a lot of work on social media, so you know with the with a blood drive for example we posted a picture of the blood mobile outside of our village town hall and put it on the point in ironworks.

Sara Horein: web, you know Facebook page and then it’s also on our website just kind of one way, showing that we are you know, supporting the Community and then there’s often.

Sara Horein: Times chatter from the employees, talking about how much they enjoyed the the opportunity to to give you know, and I think a lot of times people don’t make the time to give outside of work and so we’re providing you know 45 minutes out of their day for them to go in and give blood.

Sara Horein: Which is something that I think a lot of people don’t think about it takes time to give and and we’re providing that opportunity for them, you know paid, which is is different.

Sara Horein: Depending on and on your level, and you know if your hourly or salary and these most of these workers are hourly workers so.

Sara Horein: I think that’s one way that we create buzz you know another interesting thing that we did for the city there’s been a we live in Wisconsin I should add, and.

Sara Horein: In northern Wisconsin it gets very cold in the winter time.

Sara Horein: And the children when they go to school, they oftentimes are crossed by crossing guards, you know for elementary school or middle school there’s a crossing guard that will cross the children to go go to school safely and.

Sara Horein: The crossing guards have been asking for some shelter like an umbrella or something like that and.

Sara Horein: kind of we got the word that the crossing guards wanted some kind of shelter so since we manufacture basically anything out of steel, we decided that we would build some shelters for these crossing cards.

Sara Horein: And we actually came up with the idea of building these English phone booths because we, we can build anything right and we thought they’d be creative and fun, so we built to English phone booths that are red and have windows in them, they include a heater in a radio.

Traci Scherck: And Red Cross red.

Sara Horein: It is Red Cross.

Sara Horein: Thanks good.

Sara Horein: And it says crossing guard and there’s a nice star on the on the front of the on the front of the phone booths.

Sara Horein: And so we place them in two different locations within the city and these have caused all the buzz and point out of me the crossing guards are getting honks and the children, just think they’re great.

Sara Horein: But what this has done is it created a news article for us just a positive PR on our Facebook page and.

Sara Horein: we’ve actually gotten people to apply to work at pointet because they love our corporate goodwill and they’re just an enthusiastic about how we give back to the Community and the way that we.

Sara Horein: just give and I think that’s a true testament to you know the times that we’re in right now there’s such a shortage of employees and so many jobs to have people actually come in and say hey I like what you’re doing in the Community says a lot.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely and I think that that goes back to you know when we talk about you know those benefits programs that we have for a staff to really not only.

Traci Scherck: retain them but also you know when we’re looking to recruit individuals as those benefit packages are incredibly important but what’s in front of that is the reputation in the Community.

Traci Scherck: And so much of that happens, right now, with social media what’s happening on social media what’s the buzz about those organizations.

Traci Scherck: And then having that backed up in the actual benefit plans and some of the really interesting benefit plans that we’re seeing right now that includes some of these kind of things are you know eight hours of.

Traci Scherck: Paid time towards a volunteering opportunity of your choice.

Traci Scherck: Sometimes that’s things like blood drive sometimes that’s things like the United way’s give back day or whatnot.

Traci Scherck: And you know when you can use those things and then track it there’s actually a company called ultras that will track all of your volunteer hours and then.

Traci Scherck: send those in so that you can track exactly how many volunteer hours are needed, because those nonprofits need to track those hours, so you know.

Traci Scherck: Again it’s the goodwill it’s the alignment of values that attract and retain the best quality staff but it’s also being a little creative about how do we go about doing this.

Traci Scherck: And how do we do it in a way that allows our staff to truly come together and get to know each other, a little bit more so that they’re engaged with each other, because that means that they’re being great TEAM members and going to further projects, while they’re at work as well.

Sara Horein: yeah that’s a great point you know i’m thinking back to the the new station and when they came in to do the interview about these.

Sara Horein: phone booths, you know they wanted to interview my husband, the CEO and Jeff was like no don’t interview me I don’t want to be on camera you know let’s interview.

Sara Horein: The guy that welded these these phone booths let’s interview the woman who decided that they should be English, you know telephone booths, you know.

Sara Horein: let’s interview our people, you know the the brains behind this.

Sara Horein: And so I think with that you know it shows it shows staff that yeah you can be a leader to you can as a welder you can be on TV, you know you can have your 15 minutes of fame as the.

Sara Horein: As the creative behind these phone booths, you can be on TV and I think we really pride ourselves in in elevating our leaders, no matter where you are in the organization and I think that speaks volumes to what’s needed right now in the workforce.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, and the fact that every single person has a different need right and that’s based on what our natural behaviors are.

Traci Scherck: So just because you’re a welder doesn’t mean you don’t have a need to be to be seen and to be heard you know, to get that praises publicly.

Traci Scherck: And, but yet, not every welder is going to want that some of them are not ever going to be, what I want to be on TV ever and that’s okay too and it’s really honoring what it person’s individual behavioral needs are and ensuring that those are met and that’s where things get really fun.

Sara Horein: yeah i’m sure you know a lot about that.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely so Sarah as we kind of start to to close down today and PS, all I could think about when you were talking about the phone booth is putting together the the the floats for homecoming.

Sara Horein: Oh yeah.

Traci Scherck: To work and putting homecoming let’s do which I don’t even think they do anymore um.

Traci Scherck: So anyway, with That being said, you know those projects that bring people together are incredibly important in building teams so with that what is the specific takeaway that you have for executives are CEOs listening in today.

Sara Horein: yeah that’s a good question I think really I think it’s important that executives, are you know, weaving their company culture into the Community, you know so.

Sara Horein: We are very philanthropic and believe in volunteerism so we brought that to the Community We brought the Red Cross to pointet, and I think that speaks volumes to what what we hold as important and value, and I think that’s what an executive should think about as as they move forward.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, and then what about for HR professionals what’s the takeaway that you have for them to really think about or to look at, especially as they’re looking at what volunteer opportunities are potentially available for staff.

Sara Horein: yeah I think it’s most important for HR professionals to really talk about what they’re doing market it, you know get on social media.

Sara Horein: Given PR piece done, you know really spread the word about what you’re doing, because if you’re not talking about it, then who is you know um I think it’s it’s really getting the buzz out there.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, I think the other side of this that we haven’t quite talked about yet.

Traci Scherck: Is the volunteer opportunities that are available, a lot of times that you know tons to sometimes fall on hrs plate, but opening that up to your staff to say what are those volunteer opportunities that are meaningful to you what are those organizations.

Traci Scherck: Because I know just at the Red Cross as being on their board and you as well there’s so many volunteer opportunities that are available within the Red Cross that’s beyond just blood drives right, and you know there’s board positions but there’s also um you know.

Sara Horein: disaster, you know.

Traci Scherck: yeah.

Sara Horein: You know, disasters.

Sara Horein: service in the armed forces, I mean there’s so many different opportunities out there, I think, as an as an HR executive, I would ask my employees, you know what what what pulls at your heartstrings.

Sara Horein: You know.

Sara Horein: You know what are you passionate about, or is it mental mental health awareness is that you know, do you have.

Sara Horein: Family in the military, you know you I think you need to push your employees a little bit to ask because, once you find where their passion is that’s where you’ll get the dedication and the commitment.

Sara Horein: That absolutely.

Traci Scherck: Well, Sarah Thank you so much for joining us, and it is Red Cross month so specifically during Red Cross month and sharing some of your insights of how you’ve really.

Traci Scherck: You know use volunteerism to impact and your employees, but also retain and engage them through the workforce, so thank you so much, and we look forward to having you join us again next week have a great week yeah.

Sara Horein: Thank you.