Employees from LSI’s Austin site build a Habitat for Humanity house during our 2012 Volunteer Week.

Take a moment and think – how much of your average day is impacted by a volunteer? Volunteer boards run local schools and volunteer firefighters save lives and property.Volunteers help keep parks clean and our kids play sports under the guidance of volunteer coaches. Every day.

Volunteerism is a winning value and the backbone of our communities, which is why corporations embrace it. This commitment is part of our corporate culture and is supported by everyone – employees, executives, the community, our customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.

LSI employees in Bangalore, India, prepare to load trucks with food, toiletries, clothing and other necessities donated by employees to seven organizations.

At LSI, for instance, we’re getting ready for the seventh annual Volunteer Week, during which close to half of our employees will engage in at least one charitable activity. A list of opportunities will be provided for each site and participants select what interests them most. They paint, clean, do landscaping, collect food, cook for the homeless, build houses, mentor students, interact with children and seniors citizens –  any kind of volunteer activity you can imagine.

In addition to LSI Volunteer Week, each site participates in other local activities. In San Jose, groups bring collections for a food shelter, in Allentown employees fill spring baskets for underprivileged children, in Minnesota our people participate in Food Share Month, and in India our Corporate Social Responsibility Committee oversees a number of activities including blood drives.

LSI volunteers in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, put together furniture for Bridging Inc., which provides furniture and household goods to thousands of local families and individuals in need.

Beyond that, our employees volunteer in numerous non company-sponsored activities in their communities, places of worship, schools and local civic organizations.

Personally, I have come to realize how much can be learned about leadership through my own experiences as a volunteer; skills such as engaging varied stakeholders, working in an environment of diverse values and opinions, and achieving genuine commitment to an end vision.     Volunteerism is part of our LSI culture because it’s good for the community, employees and our businesses.

And if you ever doubt the value of volunteerism, remember this: Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers. The Titanic was built by professionals!

 

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LSI employees double up for a fast-paced match during the company’s annual worldwide table tennis tournament.

At LSI, our goal is to bring out the “Wow!” in wellness. And we do it in lots of different ways.From a global fitness competition to an international table tennis tournament to health fairs to personal coaches, we work hard at engaging our employees in activities that are fun, exciting and challenging. Time and again, studies have shown that healthy employees are happier and more productive employees. And our Wellness@Work Program bears that out. It all ties in neatly under the program’s theme: Get Fit, Live Healthy, Love Life.One of our most popular activities engaging nearly 80 percent of the LSI workforce is the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), the world’s largest workplace health and wellness program. This 16-week competition occurs annually in the spring and attracts nearly 1 million participants from around the world.

Winning smiles abound among members of the LSI Global Corporate Challenge team.

We’ve participated in the GCC for the past two years, and our employees are really looking forward to being a part of the action again starting in May. That includes our CEO and his executive team, who in the past have had friendly mini-competitions among themselves to see who has the winning edge. Overall in 2012, the LSI teams walked, swam or biked a staggering amount of mileage that would equate to circling the globe 65 times!

Right now, the competition is heating up among hundreds of employees who are taking part in our annual table tennis tourney. Players of all skill levels and from just about every LSI location are picking up their paddles and getting into the swing of things, all in the spirit of good-hearted competition.

On a more personal level, we’ve experienced great success with our one-on-one wellness coaching program. Employees are matched with professionally trained wellness coaches who provide individual consultations and guidance on achieving optimal wellness.

But our wellness initiatives don’t stop there. We have on-site yoga classes, wellness seminars, weight-management offerings, blood pressure checks and on-site annual health fairs. There’s Badminton Night in Singapore, a bowling challenge in Thailand, therapeutic massages in Germany and the U.S., a team fitness challenge in China…and more. And we’re now researching the feasibility of taking our wellness initiatives to the next level and extending some programs – where they make economic and cultural sense ¬– to the families of our employees.

Having read this far, a fair question might be: Aren’t these programs expensive and time-consuming?

Actually, effective wellness programs may pay for themselves by controlling health care costs, increasing employee productivity and lowering absenteeism.

By encouraging employees to embrace a healthier lifestyle, a company can trim its health care costs and then use some or all of that money to fund additional wellness programs. When we began our wellness initiative, we actually had no budget. Instead, we worked with our vendors to leverage programs they already offered. For example, we worked with our health plan vendor to obtain free videos offering exercise tips that employees could do at their desks. We also enabled employees to link to our cafeteria vendor’s websites, where they could find healthy and nutritious recipes. The employee response was so positive, we ramped up our activities little by little.

Overall, investing in wellness can pay a “healthy” dividend in the short- and long-term. Employee wellness programs are not a fad. They’re here to stay and are being woven into the work culture around the world because they offer a solid value proposition – for both a business and its employees.

At LSI, we’re willing to go the distance to help our employees stay on the path to good health. It’s well worth the effort, as reflected in the Arabian proverb: “He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything.”

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