Americans are observing Martin
Luther King, Jr. Day in a variety of ways. While schools, banks and government
office buildings are closed private sector employers have not embraced the
holiday as a day to close operations. According to a survey by the Society for
Human Resource Management (SHRM) only 34% of employers are treating the day as
a paid holiday in 2010.
has been designated as a Day of Service to honor the legacy of Martin Luther
King, Jr. Citizens will be participating in a wide variety of activities that
make a difference. The federal government initiative provides information,
coordination and a place to share success stories through an official web site.
It may be too late to impact your
community today but there are plenty of opportunities to encourage your
employees to improve the lives of others throughout the year. Including a
volunteer day off in your paid time off policy is one way to foster a
commitment to caring. Some employers designate a day when workers fan out to
projects that are pre-selected or allow individuals to take the lead in
choosing the activity.
If the logistics and costs of an
entire workday are prohibitive it doesn’t mean the concept of putting a service
component in a workplace should be abandoned. A great deal can be achieved in
short periods of time. In as little as 45 minutes a month, or a week, employees
can impact a community by reading, tutoring, mentoring, delivering meals,
collecting and sorting food donations and a myriad of other ways.
The community need may be across the
street, down the block or require some research to identify the best fit. Local
chambers of commerce, libraries and government offices are great places to
start in seeking suitable sites or causes. An employee committee or individual
can take care of logistics. It may make sense to partner with one non-profit
that meshes with your business or find a few that meet employee interests and
Share your initiatives and the
impact that they have. Your ideas will inspire employees and other employers to
grow a community of volunteers.