United Way of Rhode Island believes that if people have a high-quality educational experience, if they can earn and manage money, and if they can live in stable and affordable housing, everyone will benefit.
That same investment philosophy applies to its own workplace, according to Lynn Corwin, United Way’s director of human resources. “This is the fifth year in a row that we’ve been chosen as one of the Best Places To Work in Rhode Island, so we must be doing something right,” she said.
What makes it such a great place to work? “I think it’s the investment in people, the focus on talent development, our connection to the community, and the organizations that are doing great things to help people have better lives,” she said.
Corwin has spearheaded a team approach, helping to create a coaching council that conducts monthly training sessions as a way to build trust and rapport between managers and employees in a supportive environment.
Employees are encouraged to invest in their own development, and every staff member has an individual training plan. Every employee is required to do at least one “connection to work” activity each year, whether it is volunteering on a project or serving on the board of a community-based organization. Staff is also allowed time off for volunteering with their children’s school activities.
Corwin herself has been involved with the Rhode Island Affirmative Action Professionals as a volunteer. “We help people connect with jobs,” she said.
United Way also has developed a bonus plan linked directly to employee performance as a way to motivate and reward high-performing workers who demonstrate personal responsibility, depending on budget availability. •