tbs.02.04.16These days parks across the country are underfunded. In fact, if all the local volunteers who donate their time to provide access, management, funding and maintenance suddenly quit, the parks would have to close down. In most states, parks are kept open only due to the love and care of local residents and non-profit members. Many who vote against additional funding for the parks argue that the locals benefit the most, and therefore locals should provide most of the support. But there is another group that benefits greatly from the existence of well-maintained and well-managed parks. It’s local business owners and their staff!

How can your business benefit from the parks? Several ways, not the least of which is recruitment. At the higher end of the pay scale where specialties become scarce, you are competing for qualified candidates from all over the country. Country wide, other businesses are doing the same.

Many of these candidates have families. Aside from the job, the benefits, and the career opportunities, they want to know what the lifestyle is like where you are asking them to move. They want to know about the obvious – good schools, low crime, good neighborhoods. But they also want to know about recreational opportunities, such as the parks and open space. Before they make any career decision, they want to know if they and their family will be happy and healthy in the new area.  It may be more important than the compensation offered.

So now, from a Human Resources recruitment standpoint and from an employee’s tenure and loyalty standpoint, the parks and open spaces near your business are critical in attracting and keeping the talent you want to hire. Parks and access to open space can be the deciding factor in the candidate’s decision to work for you.

Your HR people should already be aware of the natural attractions immediately surrounding your place of business. But do you, as a business owner, contribute your fair share to this local resource you depend upon? Or do you take it for granted? Maybe you think, “I pay my taxes, so the government should provide these services.” If you do, you haven’t been reading the news. The parks are considerably underfunded and have huge backlogs of deferred maintenance.  The parks also are now dependent on volunteers to help with management and maintenance. Chances are the trails you walk on in your local park were built and maintained by a local non-profit.

We believe all businesses have a responsibility to help support the parks that are supporting their communities. You can do this by writing a big check, which would be very welcomed by these non-profit groups, but there are other ways, too.

You company already has heath programs that involve some kind of exercise to keep employees in shape and reduce medical costs. Why not join an organized group to do clean-ups, trail maintenance, and ecological restoration projects in your nearby parks? Your people will love it and you will be helping to pay the parks back for their positive influence on the recruitment and tenure of your staff.

If your business or your affiliates are in construction, building materials, engineering, water, or maintenance, you can donate supplies to the parks and take it as a tax deduction. It will reduce their expenses and be very well received. Further, most parks will allow signage that says donated by your company for all visitors to see. Now you are improving your company image!

Time for your business to say “Thank You” to your local parks that make your business a more attractive place to work!

Who We Are.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.