Editor’s Note: This profile is an installment in the Healthy Leaders Project initiated by the WorldatWork Work-Life Advisory Council (WLAC). The project, launched in the January 2018 issue of Workspan, will run profiles on healthy leaders in the magazine throughout the year.
Organizing community projects often falls into the “other duties” category of an HR practitioner’s job description.
But instead of looking at it as a dreaded task, consider that community outreach has the potential to improve not only the environment in which your business operates, but the business itself and the people it employs, emphasizes Latasha Causey, executive administrative director of the 4,500-employee USAA Phoenix regional site.
“More people than you realize are interested in giving back to others,” Causey said. “It builds camaraderie and relationships with people internally. When you are out- side of work, you may find you have things in common with your co-workers that you didn’t realize. Plus, you sense you are part of something bigger than just the business.
“It’s great for everyone — employees and our member base.”
As with any Healthy Leaders initiative, leading by example is key to rank-and-file adoption.
“When top leaders are involved, it shows loyalty and vulnerability and builds commonality,” Causey said. “The actions are saying ‘Hey, I’m just like you. I have passion.’ When you are in a situation like that, people see you as a regular person.”
Plus, community involvement events can help unearth in-house talent, Causey said. “You get a chance to see what people are like and what they can do outside the office.”
“ All leaders should get out in the community with their teams.”
There seems to be an infinite number of good causes; picking your community projects wisely can maximize the benefits to the employees, community, the company’s brand — and help preserve your sanity, she said.
Even Causey, whose laundry list of volunteering includes being in the current Valley Leadership class as well as serving on the board of directors of Teach for America, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, knows how to draw the line.
“Pick something that will really help the community and that you and your employees are passionate about,” she said.
It’s part of balancing community involvement into the rest of your life. For Causey, that means that “family comes first.” She and husband Sullivan Causey Jr. are raising two sons, Sullivan III, 10, and Maysn, 6. “I try to integrate our family into community activities. Our sons have been involved since they were 4 or 5 years old.”
Next month’s installment of the Healthy Leaders Project examines weighing choices in achieving work-life balance.
Jim Fickess writes and edits for WorldatWork. He can be reached at email@example.com.