By Matt Reid, Food Designer, Kellogg Company
Despite having a 3-year-old son and a daughter on the way, I didn’t know anything about diaper banks before I started my Kellogg’s® Better Days volunteer project. What I did know is that Kellogg was giving me an opportunity to build my leadership skills by helping out a local nonprofit organization.
We call it “skills-based volunteering,” and it’s a win-win for our employees and our communities.
When Kellogg reached out to members of our Business/Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) looking for volunteers to pioneer this approach, in partnership with United Way, I signed up. As BERG members, we help the company best connect with families and consumers around the world. As a natural introvert, I look for ways to stretch and grow. This opportunity to help achieve some of my professional development goals while, at the same time, helping my community made sense.
The project I accepted was helping the St. Luke’s Diaper Bank in Kalamazoo, Mich. develop job profiles and an employee evaluation process. In 2021, the Diaper Bank, its two employees and many volunteers provided 388,834 diapers to 7,775 families. This is certainly an impressive number, but the need is significant, and they have ambitious plans to expand.
The Diaper Bank team and I worked together for about three months. I was able to draw on the Kellogg approach to identifying core competencies essential for employee success, as well as our K Values that guide how we work, to help them plan for the future. I also created a guide on how to work with employees to help the Diaper Bank as it grows. They were very appreciative of the work, which was incredibly rewarding and one of the wins.
I benefited from the other win. One of my professional goals is to one day be a people manager and lead a team. This experience gave me a solid understanding of what it’s like to evaluate an employee’s performance. It takes an empathetic mindset to consider the whole person and it’s not something we take lightly. It was humbling and encouraging to learn that I can do so.
What advice do I have for others who are invited to participate in skills-based volunteering? If you have the capacity, jump on it! It’s encouraging to impact a local organization and help them thrive. It’s also a great way to develop the skills that can propel your career forward.