February 6, 2012 | last updated February 7, 2012 3:43 pm

Program rewards employees and worthy causes

Kemp Goldberg Partners recently launched an employee recognition program that achieves the dual goal of rewarding employee milestones while simultaneously supporting worthy charities. We think other businesses might want to consider this model.

Kemp Goldberg Partners is an integrated advertising, public relations and interactive agency in Portland that embraces corporate social responsibility. Though our CSR program isn't fully outlined yet, we know that charitable giving and volunteerism have a seat at the table. We intend to pinpoint areas where we can make the biggest impact, while adhering to our values as an agency and individuals.

The employee recognition program started when we realized 11 of our 37 employees were going to reach employment anniversaries within a few months of each other. Until then, we'd recognized new employees with a company fleece and other branded items, like a silver lunch box with their date of hire etched under our logo as a "serial number." We'd also celebrated employees' five-year anniversaries with a commemorative crystal, a $500 bonus, a photo album and a certificate of recognition signed by all of the partners.

We wanted to do more — something different that would be meaningful to our employees and make a positive impact in the local community and beyond Maine's borders. We decided to recognize the loyalty and tenure of our employees with a monetary gift to the organization of their choice, a program we call CONTRIBUTE.

With so many people in need, it made sense to have employees make the donation decisions. That way, the agency could expand its breadth of giving to new, and perhaps underserved, causes that it might not have otherwise discovered. Plus, it's our way of communicating to the employees that we value their hard work and talent. So far, they're loving the program and we know it's opening doors for them to do more, whether that means volunteering, joining a board or simply bringing more visibility to organizations in need. We, in turn, benefit from fulfilled employees who deliver great work to happy clients.

To date, Kemp Goldberg has donated about $450 to these local and national organizations: Milestone Foundation, a state-licensed nonprofit organization providing emergency shelter, detoxification and extended care for chronic substance abusers; The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland; No Kid Hungry, a program dedicated to feeding hungry kids where they live, learn and play; Native American Heritage Association, dedicated to helping Native American families in need living on the reservations of South Dakota; St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital; Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk; National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter; Ronald McDonald House of Portland; Make A Wish Foundation of America; and Preble Street, a resource center that provides accessible, barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger and poverty, and advocates for solutions to those problems.

Currently, Kemp Goldberg Partners recognizes the first and third anniversaries of its employees under the CONTRIBUTE program. We intend to expand the initiative in the future.


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