Much goes into a name.
At ServiceMaster, service is what the organization does. For the company, that means providing service with a purpose built on a foundation of brands and employees who have a passion for service. But it’s more than serving customers; the community is an important part of that work.
“Part of our legacy – and we’ve been in business for 87 years – is passionate employees, great brands and our service to customers,” said Peter Tosches, senior vice president of corporate communications for ServiceMaster. “When it comes to being part of the communities where our employees live and work, , our employees are very generous with their time and talent and give back in various ways.”
ServiceMaster moved its corporate headquarters to Memphis in 2007, and since then has encouraged employees to support efforts important to the company, as well as what matters to them as individuals.
Broadly, ServiceMaster is a corporate sponsor of larger community entities such as the Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Redbirds, Memphis Open tennis tournament and the FedEx St. Jude Classic. And ServiceMaster has a store at the Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South’s JA BizTown, which teaches elementary and middle school children a thing or two about entrepreneurship, something ServiceMaster appreciates.
“Entrepreneurship is important to us because of our history in franchising,” Tosches said. “We were pioneers in franchising as far back as the ’40s and Junior Achievement gives young people the opportunity to see what it’s like to own and run a business. We have thousands of franchise owners who do that every day. We think our relationship with Junior Achievement promotes that entrepreneurial spirit that is the foundation of our franchising business.”
Another connection to ServiceMaster’s wheelhouse of services is the company’s association with Habitat for Humanity. ServiceMaster will build its 10th Habitat home this August.
“It’s a great fit for us,” Tosches said. “ServiceMaster is all about protecting and maintaining homes and businesses and providing a path to homeownership fits nicely with our work.”
There are other efforts ServiceMaster as a company or its employees individually participate in; support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital are big focuses for the company’s employees, for example. Tosches said many ServiceMaster employees have had a child or other family member treated at Le Bonheur.
The company in 2014 sponsored a family waiting room at the hospital that serves as a welcoming area for relatives while children are being treated.
One of the biggest single community events the company sponsors is We Serve Day, heading into its fourth year. The August event, which began as a one-day effort in Memphis in 2013, has since expanded to include the company’s other major office locations across the country, as well as some of its franchise locations.
In 2015, company volunteers in 10 U.S. cities participated in more than 30 community projects involving more than 1,200 volunteers. In Memphis, for example, those efforts supported organizations such as DeNeuville Learning Center, FedEx Family House, Memphis Child Advocacy Center, Mid-South Food Bank, National Civil Rights Museum and Youth Villages.
“We took the seed of an idea about service, which is important to us and part of our legacy, and turned it into a signature event for employees,” Tosches said. “We’ve found it not only fosters pride in our company, but the the opportunity to get involved in the community and, in some cases, opens the door to long-term volunteer relationships.”
This year, ServiceMaster’s We Serve Day will be held Aug. 19, leading up to the company’s involvement with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity. In its 33rd year, the Carter Work Project will take place Aug. 21-26 in Memphis.
Project volunteers will conduct multiple projects in the Uptown neighborhood, including new home construction, beautification projects such as minor repair, painting and landscaping, and Aging in Place projects such as critical home repairs, weatherization and modifications to enhance accessibility.
ServiceMaster will serve as a sponsor of that event, and part of the We Serve Day efforts will prepare for the influx of attention on that effort. But the Carter Work Project won’t be the only focus here in Memphis for ServiceMaster employees.
“We’ve been talking about this year’s We Serve Day since we finished celebrating the last one, looking for ways to make it more successful and meaningful to the organizations we support,” Tosches said. “We want our employees to be proud of what they can accomplish in a half-day or full day of work, but we also want to be sure we’re selecting projects that meet a need in the community.”
ServiceMaster works directly with many organizations in the city to determine which projects to undertake
Last year, for example, ServiceMaster donated and installed laptops for the National Civil Rights Museum’s LINKS Education and Cultural Center Classrooms. Other past projects have included improvement projects for the Boys and Girls Club and DeNeuville Learning Center.
“It’s usually projects we can complete in a reasonable amount of time, with the greatest impact. But the beauty is we’re introducing employees who have a desire to give back to opportunities that exist everywhere in the community,” Tosches said. “We have 2,200 people in Memphis and we want them to feel like we’re making a difference in the city.”
The company’s Dollars for Doers program offers employees another way to give back to the community, with the company’s support. Employees who volunteer at least 40 hours a year at an approved nonprofit are eligible to apply for a grant of up to $500 to be donated in that individual’s name, on behalf of ServiceMaster. It’s just another way for us to thank employees who are volunteering their time and talent to the community.
In the long run, giving back to the community goes beyond just being a good corporate citizen.
“Part of what makes ServiceMaster such a great company to work for is its generous spirit,” Tosches said. “It’s part of the legacy of our company. For our employees who live and work in and around Memphis, it’s important to see we can make a difference in the community. It’s not just being a good corporate citizen, but it’s the right thing to do.”