Every year in August we have a big celebration of the day we started our company. We have built a great culture and our teams are actually friends outside of the office.

So, why not celebrate the reason we all know each other? The reason we have careers we like. Celebrate us.Holiday parties are fun, but they aren't about the company. They aren't unique to why everyone is affiliated.

We've been doing this since the company was founded, and along the way, we have become very philanthropic. I think it's important to support your community and the charities that help those in the community that are less fortunate.

What I have tried to do is make the charities I choose to be only a percentage of the overall giving our company does. For the other charities we are affiliated with, I have let our employees lead the way.

A group of employees got everyone involved with a Dance Marathon for a children's hospital. Five years later, our company is a lead sponsor and has various employees on the charity's board.

This year, we went a step further. I sent an email to the company that everyone could submit a brief summary nominating a charity, and why it was significant to them, and we would pick one winner to get a donation in the employee's name, as well as the company's.

The writing portion was to identify charities that were really close to people's heart. I found out more about a group of employees than I had ever known. We had administrative people participate, executives and staff of all levels.

I was moved that people wanted to share their stories about relatives and friends who had been injured, passed away or were fighting a disease.

We ended up making donations to every charity that was nominated, 17 charities in five days. It wasn't large amounts, but it was a statement to say, "We support our community, and we support our coworkers."

It's unbelievable the amount of passion for giving back that exists in your team, all you have to do is give them the opportunity to let it shine.

We have given time off for Habitat for Humanity and the stories and laughter which circled back were worth its weight in gold.

Oftentimes what happens is CEOs push their charities onto staff. They want their employees to buy into their passions. Instead, find out what your staff is passionate about and stand behind it. Talk to them and listen to their stories.

When this happens, you not only build a better relationship with them, but they get their families and friends involved. They bring their personal lives to work and ultimately, they're more invested.

It feels good to give back, and as leaders, being a part of your employees' vision for giving back feels just as good as them participating in your vision for corporate growth.

Published on: Aug 29, 2016