How to build culture while supporting local communities

When you have a team working remotely or across multiple locations, it’s crucial to think about how you can build culture beyond the four walls of your head office. A great way to do that is to run a “Big-for-Small” campaign, originally championed by Breathe HR, which encourages people to support small businesses in the community where they work while at the same time building a connection with their colleagues.

Aim

To build team culture and connection while supporting local communities.

Resources

  • A ‘campaign’ period – can be any time frame or an ongoing initiative. We did ours for a month.
  • A weekly budget per person (we went with $50 per head, per week, for the campaign duration)
  • A central communication channel (we used our social WhatsApp group)

Method

  1. Allocate each team member a weekly budget and let them know how to access this budget (e.g. use their corporate credit card and provide a receipt).
  2. Each team member can spend the money at a local small business of their choice (e.g. a local bookshop, gift store, hairdresser, or cafe, provided it’s a locally-owned operation).
  3. On purchase, encourage each team member to share that they are part of a #bigforsmall campaign with the store employees – this typically generates a lovely, positive conversation.
  4. Afterwards, your team should share a photo plus any relevant personal stories (e.g. a personal connection, why they chose that business, what it allowed them to do, the response of the employee) with the rest of the team on your preferred communication platform.
  5. Collate the photos at the end of the campaign period, tally up the total spend, and celebrate your impact.

Outcome

Participants typically love the opportunity to ‘do good’ in their local community, so you won’t find it hard to drive engagement with this initiative! It has a positive impact on small local businesses – many of whom have had a tough few years, plus the conversations it generates amongst the team help build a deeper connection naturally.