Culture Insight December 12, 2016

Community Service: Fueling Creativity with Fuelanthropic


By Anna Condon, Junior Copywriter

Creativity is the heart and soul of an advertising agency. It’s what gives life to messages about products or services that might otherwise be unremarkable in the minds of consumers. Without creativity, there is no breakthrough, no vision, no kindling to fuel new ideas. But how do you cultivate creativity on your team?

Fuel the Fire

Everyone is capable of creativity. We all have different triggers that help us tap into this wellspring of imagination. For some, inspiration comes more easily with a change of scenery — whether it’s changing the weekly meeting location to the coffee shop down the street or taking a walk around the block.  Others prefer taking a mental break before coming back to a project with fresh eyes. Identifying these sources of inspiration is a key step to creating a culture of outside-the-box thinking.

More and more people are realizing the important role volunteerism plays in cultivating creativity. Employee volunteer programs can give employees a boost by:

  • Providing a much-needed break in routine. Which, in turn, has a positive impact on the attitudes, productivity, and job satisfaction of employees — allowing them to bring a new energy and imagination into their work.
  • Exposing employees to a new way of doing things. Seeing how another organization runs, and experiencing different methods of managing, brainstorming, or solving problems can offer a fresh perspective on how to approach challenges in your paid position.
  • Retaining top creative talent. According to a Deloitte survey on corporate community engagement, when young workers volunteer, they are twice as likely to say their corporate culture is very positive, are more likely to be proud of their work at their company, are more likely to feel loyal to their employer, and are more likely to recommend their organization to a friend. Companies that make service a top priority attract employees who share those values — creating a more personal connection, more engaged employees, and less turnover. 

Fuelanthropic is inferno’s endeavor to make a meaningful difference in the Memphis community. In addition to providing work pro bono, each employee is given a week of paid civic time to support the causes and organizations that they embrace.

“We think it’s important to balance the agency’s pro bono work with opportunities for our team to personally invest in the community, in their own way,” says inferno Partner Tim Sellers. “Everyone is encouraged to participate and we all learn something new about each other when we hear how everyone has used their time.”

Instituting an employee volunteer program creates a happier, more engaged workforce, which leads to better overall performance — but where do you start?

Often, corporate social responsibility programs can feel more like a PR requirement than a true commitment to service. Company leaders should make it clear that the program isn’t just lip service.  inferno recommends starting out with clear policies and incentives to encourage employees to get involved.

When you make taking civic time as easy as putting in for a vacation, people take note. It also helps when leadership participates — some of our most involved Fuelanthropists at the partner and manager level.

Working in an environment that puts emphasis on volunteerism inspires employees to imagine a different, better world. Help your employees get their creative juices flowing with these ideas for incorporating service into your company culture:

  • Organize a group day or half day of service.
  • Provide pro bono services for local non-profits.
  • Educate employees about other volunteer opportunities.
  • Create a workplace competition to support a charity chosen by the employees.
  • Offer matching gift opportunities.