The Business of Giving Back: Why the Nation’s Largest Private Testing Lab is Giving Back, and Why it Matters

The Business of Giving Back: Why the Nation’s Largest Private Testing Lab is Giving Back, and Why it Matters

Giving back is no longer something companies should do. It’s something they must do if they want to have a healthy company culture and remain relevant to consumers. In fact, the modern consumer and the modern job seeker both seek out socially responsible companies, and the pandemic has caused those numbers to grow. It goes without saying that 2020 was tough. The global economy took a significant hit with an unprecedented level of unemployment, and a record number of people looked to food banks for support. For those of us who were fortunate enough to make it out of 2020 relatively unscathed, it’s more important than ever to give back to those who suffered. And not just out of obligation, but because we could all use a pick-me-up and it truly feels good to make a positive difference.

For decision makers looking to improve company culture, giving back is the ultimate trickle-down effect. Companies that regularly give back are healthier, more successful, and have happier employees. Happy employees make for more productive employees, a more productive business, and a better world. We sat down with Jennifer Garrison, Talent Acquisition Manager and mind behind #MicrobacGivesbac, the new outreach movement from the nation’s largest private testing firm, Microbac Laboratories.

Cara Chancellor: How was Microbac Givesbac born?

Jennifer Garrison: The whole idea of Microbac Givesbac and the launch of the week of giving was to remind people to keep a spirit of love for others at forefront of their minds. Every tragedy or circumstance that happens in our world comes with the opportunity to give back. Even in our everyday lives, people struggle. As a company, we are only as strong as our lowest common denominator. We have to help everybody rise up to be the best they can be. Community efforts across the board help us all get stronger and all get better because they bring out the best in each of us. And when you do that as a group, it strengthens the whole. That’s my personal philosophy on giving back.

CC: Do you think companies that give back are set apart from those that don’t? In the public eye?

JG: Absolutely. But you know, it’s funny the market is so oversaturated with so many things, but I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as saturating the market with giving. Businesses that aren’t giving back are doing themselves and their people a disservice. It just starts by doing one little thing. You donate one can of food, you help clean up litter in your community, you spend time with shelter animals… it all makes a cumulative difference. It doesn’t always have to be this huge grand gesture, and every company no matter how big or small can do that.

CC: Do you feel like there’s been a camaraderie spread through the company because of the Microbac Givesbac initiative?

JG: Yes. We have locations across the country, and we’ve seen many of our teammates at labs across the nation branch out from the initial Givesbac initiative to seek out opportunities to give amongst themselves. From Wilson, North Carolina to Erie, Baltimore, and Sterling, Virginia. Especially a cause with a close touchpoint, something that strikes a chord or hits really close to home for them. Whether that’s giving blood in Marietta, Ohio, spending time with shelter kittens in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, or taking the day to paint and landscape at a local special needs summer camp in Pittsburgh.

CC: So you’re saying this has brought the employees of Microbac closer together?

JG: Definitely. You feel camaraderie when you volunteer together. And honestly, I’m in charge of recruiting for the company and being able to tell potential team members that Microbac is a company that cares about attracting the type of candidates who also care, that’s a huge deal. We’re not just out here to make a profit. I mean, we’re running a business, but we put our money where our mouth is and we get out there, we show up and we make the world a better place.

CC: How has Microbac Givesbac impacted the internal company culture? Beyond expanding camaraderie?

JG: Giving back makes everybody better. So, I think as a company, we offer the opportunity for people to better themselves through that. We have great leaders in our company that want to see their people soar, they want to see their people succeed as employees and as members of society. And seeing the Givesbac initiative be valued so intensely from the top, down, shows everyone at the company that we share a common goal – to better the world. That creates a top-down company culture of gratitude and caring for our neighbors. How many people can go to work every day and say, “my company does something that makes a huge difference in the lives of other people?”

CC: This year, your give back efforts looked different than last year. How was that transition for you?

JG: For me personally, it wasn’t difficult at all. With the help of our safety and risk manager, I was able to apply safety guidelines to our give-back efforts. But we understood that across the company, people were nervous, people were worried about the virus. So, we gave our teams across the country opportunities to give back safely and socially distance. Things like food drives were big this year, donating clothing, warm blankets, and toys. Last year we were visiting shelters and giving blood, this year we were donating goods and supplies. It was different but of course, we still found a way to fulfill the mission.

CC: Do you foresee things going back to in-person giving once the pandemic is over or is this the new normal?

JG: Well, I also happen to be a single mom of three kids. And I understand that even when this pandemic is over, there will be plenty of people who prefer to give back from a distance just because they don’t have the option of going to an in-person event outside of work. When the time comes to be in-person again, we will have options available for anyone and everyone’s giving back preference because at the end of the day it’s not how you give back that matters.

CC: Are there any particular in-person Microbac Givesbac memories from before the pandemic that you missed this year?

JG: Our Warrendale, Pennsylvania lab and our corporate team based in Pittsburgh volunteered at the Woodlands last year, which is a wonderful camp for special needs children and young adults. We shoveled dirt for landscaping, tarred, painted the cabins, and even repaired some exterior walls. Both the lab and our corporate team took time to meet at the location and get our hands dirty together to better the world and our community. I think that’s something we all missed this year.

CC: Do you have aspirations for giving back as a company in 2021?

JG: Well, I have two specific goals. One is that everybody in our company has the opportunity to give back. The worst that could happen is one of our team members from across the company not being afforded the opportunity to do so for whatever reason. The other is to expand our efforts from the week of Givingbac to monthly outreach.

All photography pictured is by Cara Chancellor.

This document is not intended to provide scientific or other advice to be used in a specific fact situation and is intended for general information purposes only.  While we encourage you to share this document or a link to it with others, this document or any portion of it may not be quoted or used in another publication without our express permission.

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