The power of service: How Hyland’s volunteer program makes an impact

A group of Hyland employees in matching #HereToHelp T-shirts pose for a group picture at Big Hearted Blooms, a Cleveland nonprofit.

The scene: It’s the middle of summer in Cleveland, and a group of Hyland employees is walking into BigHearted Blooms, a Cleveland-based nonprofit that collects and delivers recycled flowers.

The team is a sea of green in their “Here to Help” T-shirts, and as they arrive for the day’s volunteer shift, they’re handed an apron and floral clippers.

The group members are setting aside their everyday work roles and instead serving their community for the day. They’ll be repurposing flower arrangements that would otherwise be thrown away and delivering them to individuals in care facilities who benefit from the joy that flowers bring.

The effort is part of Hyland’s annual Week of Service, and this is just one of a couple of dozen of organizations where Hylanders are pitching in this year.

A group of Hyland employees gather for a photo as they volunteer at the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

#HeretoHelp

Hylanders take great pride in serving our communities, a core value that’s been with our company from the very beginning in 1992. Fast forward a few decades and add in about 5,000 employees, and our annual volunteer event is bigger, more distributed and more impactful than anyone could have imagined.

What started as a single day in the Cleveland area has expanded to a week-long event at a variety of locations, and now it’s called our Week of Service. While a lot has changed, the concept remains the same: We are here to help.

“When the program started, it began with one organization,” said Tracy Petrakis, Hyland’s program manager for Community Engagement. “Everyone would go to the same project because we were still small enough. By 2019, we were supporting 24 different nonprofits on 26 projects. This year we have 31 different shifts throughout the week, and we’re working with 19 nonprofits in five different cities.”

A Hyland employee engages cats at FurKids in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Encouraging and enabling community engagement

Hylanders bring their passion to work every day, but their interests aren’t strictly related to work. Hyland has made it a priority for employees to feel encouraged and empowered to get into their communities and make a difference.

Hyland’s Community Engagement team makes it easy for employees to raise their hands and help out. Each year the team sets up dozens of group volunteer shifts with nonprofits and makes it simple for employees to sign up. The opportunities our Week of Service provides helps them donate their time in a way that they choose, while also building their personal and professional skills.

There are many benefits that come from employee volunteerism. Here are a few:

Increased efficiency, effectiveness and reach of nonprofit organizations

“BigHearted Blooms is working to mitigate the effects of loneliness and isolation experienced by the many individuals within our community who are residing in care facilities or facing difficult life challenges alone,” said Sue Buddenbaum, Founder, BigHearted Blooms.

“Thanks to our Hyland volunteers who spent the afternoon repurposing donated fresh flowers and cleaning the warehouse, more than 100 individuals in Cleveland’s senior care facilities got to experience the joy of being surprised with a bouquet of flowers just for them. Such simple acts of kindness go a long way toward boosting emotional health.”

Employees become a part of something new, meaningful and fun

Hyland’s Week of Service provides opportunities to connect an employee’s passion with an organization’s pressing need. Time spent volunteering builds connection to the community and allows employees to feel a sense of belonging, purpose and that what they’re doing is making a difference.

Group volunteerism encourages collaboration and teamwork

Team volunteer projects can make a tremendous impact while promoting teambuilding and boosting morale among employees. Working toward a collective goal with a coworker gives employees a chance to meet and connect with one another outside of their normal workday. Collaboration can increase trust and cooperation across an organization, while giving employees the opportunity to work with others beyond their typical circle of colleagues.

Recharges and refreshes

Team volunteer projects help engage employees and boost morale. Spending time differently outside of the daily routines can help employees recharge and feel more refreshed, which can help bring more creative ways of thinking back into their work.

Strengthens colleague relationships

Group projects provide an opportunity for team building and bonding. Especially in our largely remote world, opportunities to get together with other employees can be fulfilling. This is also a great way to learn more about your teams and appreciate new perspectives.

A group of Hyland employees poses for a picture as they work to clean up Cleveland Metroparks.

Join us at Hyland

As we’ve grown, we’re thankful to have remained dedicated to the communities where we live and work — whether that’s in Cleveland or among countless locales across the world. And if that week doesn’t work for employees, they can use their Volunteer Time Off to serve at any nonprofit whenever their schedule allows.

Interested in joining us for next year’s Week of Service? View our current opportunities.

Jessica is a content strategist on the Employee Communications team. Her mission is to help create community among Hylanders through storytelling that engages, inspires and connects us all.
Jessica Folk

Jessica Folk

Jessica is a content strategist on the Employee Communications team. Her mission is to help create community among Hylanders through storytelling that engages, inspires and connects us all.

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