Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Creating Strong Community at Work Leads to Creating Strong Communities for Clients

It’s a warm summer night.  AMG team members and their guests are keeping one eye on the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the class A minor league baseball affiliate of the Florida Marlins, and the other eye on the wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from summer vacation plans to an upcoming birthday party to a recent road race for a worthy non-profit. Oh, and work. Maybe. The ball game night out was just one of many events throughout the year that AMG employees participate in outside of work.  For Ashley Kearnes, CMCA, Certified Manager of Community Associations at the Greensboro office and unofficial event organizer, AMG is all about creating community–for clients and in the workplace. “This is our family away from home,” Kearnes says. “We try to do this fairly often, to support local organizations and charities, to celebrate birthdays, to just get out and socialize together. I think it builds a stronger team when we have quality time together.”
            National statistics bear out what AMG understands intuitively. A Gallup poll showed a link between employee feelings and corporate success, finding, not too surprisingly, that disengaged employees cost the US economy $300 billion every year.  Another Gallup study found that employee perceptions of work affected business bottom lines: sales and profits, up and down, could be predicted by employees’ feelings, positive and negative, with an impact on everything from employee retention to customer loyalty.  Happy workplaces feed employee enthusiasm, creativity, loyalty and morale.
            Events the AMG team have enjoyed include a fun day at Charlotte amusement park Carowinds, donating food and running in the PTI 5K 10K on the Runway at Piedmont Triad International Airport to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, Grasshopper ball games, tubing down the river, housewarming parties, bowling and birthdays. The employees participated in the Beach Music Blast benefitting the Children’s Home Society in downtown Greensboro to honor a team member who had been adopted through the organization.  “There’s a lot to celebrate about living in Greensboro and a lot to be done to support this great community,” she explains. “We’re looking at kicking that into higher gear.”  
            The networking isn’t limited to just the Greensboro office. That team along with employees from the Charlotte and Greenville/Spartanburg offices also participate in an annual corporate retreat that combines workplace best practices and training with engaging team-building activities. Kearnes believes truly getting to know colleagues she doesn’t see on a day-to-day basis strengthens the company.  “We try to keep a close connection with each other,” she points out. “It improves the workplace with better communication, a deeper sense of personality and a celebration of strengths. There’s a bond when you’re able to share challenges and successes.”                                           
             Kearnes feels a connected workplace that’s engaged both professionally and socially is good for business. And it shows at AMG in employee retention, job satisfaction and, ultimately, in the quality of the customer experience and company success.  “When you have a happier environment, it improves the customer experience,” she concludes. “When you like the people you work with and can get along, everything is easier and better. We brainstorm ideas to help customers. We fill in for each other.  If a customer issue comes up and one of us needs assistance or can’t handle it on our own, there are 10 to 14 others in the office who have your back and will support you. It works.”  

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