5 Ways Your Company Can Be More Patriotic
The 4th of July is this week, and it's time for barbecues, fireworks, and thinking about how your company can be a good citizen, just like you.
Here are five ways your company can step up to the plate and be patriotic, not just on Independence Day, but all year long.
#1 Get Out the Vote
Are all of your employees registered to vote? If they're like the rest of America, about a quarter of them aren't. Rates of voter registration are lowest among young Americans, so especially if you have a younger work-force, many are probably either unregistered or registered at the wrong address. This is the perfect time of year to remind your employees that they should get registered, because voting is their patriotic duty, and a great way to make a difference.
When election day rolls around, make sure you create an environment that is voter-friendly. In many states companies are required to facilitate their employees in voting by allowing them to take time off to vote, especially if polling places are not conveniently available before or after work. In some states, you are even required to provide employees with paid time off to vote. Know the laws in your state, and follow them.
#2 Keep America Beautiful
Summer is a great time to organize a company trash pickup. Doing a service project together as a company can build morale, help your community, and generate goodwill for your business. Good trash pickup locations include your local beach, waterway, or park. If you want to make it an ongoing company tradition, consider "adopting" a stretch of highway in your area and doing regular trash pickups there.
#3 Help Out Our Heroes
There's nothing more patriotic than doing something to show your appreciation for those who have fought and sacrificed for our country and freedoms. Whether they have recently returned or served our country decades ago, veterans often face unique challenges as a result of their service, and it's everyone's responsibility to help them out.
One of the easiest ways to help is simply to organize a clothing drive at your place of business, to be donated to a veterans' organization. Vietnam Veterans of America organizes free pickups for such clothing drives in 30 states.
For a more ambitious project, you can involve your company in Habitat for Humanity's Veterans Build project, which provides housing for disadvantaged veterans.
If your company generates significant frequent flyer miles and hotel points, those can be donated to Fisher House, which provides transportation and lodging to wounded service members and their families who are undergoing treatment at VA medical centers.
#4 Buy American
As a business owner, you have much more buying power than the typical consumer. Even if you can't buy 100% American, try to do it where you can. Domestically produced office supplies, furniture, and other products can be more difficult to find, but many businesses find that it is worth the effort.
When you are considering outsourcing a particular business function, look first for an outsourcing company in the United States. Committing to buy American-made goods and contract for American-provided services can generate significant social capital for your business, and help keep our economy thriving.
#5 Hire a Veteran
One of the best ways you can help out our military heroes is to make a solid commitment to hiring veterans. Our veterans make great employees, because they've had rigorous training and experience in discipline, performance under pressure, and teamwork. Leadership often comes easily to them, because they have learned to problem solve in challenging situations and lead by example, inspiration, and positive motivation. Veterans often also have specified skills that can translate beautifully into the skill-set for a civilian job.
If you'd like to start hiring more veterans, you can list your job on websites specifically designed to attract veterans, like www.hireveterans.com/. Adding a line in your job postings on other sites to the effect that veterans are welcome and encouraged to apply can also be helpful. The U.S. government offers special tax breaks to companies hiring certain unemployed veterans, especially if they are disabled.
These are just a few ways that your company can show its patriotic colors this year. Have a happy, safe 4th of July!