By Mike Munoz, Market President, AmeriHealth New Jersey
My goal as a leader has always been to create a culture where people enjoy coming to work each day. Over the years, I’ve learned that associate engagement, more specifically volunteerism, is instrumental in boosting morale and fostering comradery.
When you help prepare the grounds of a summer camp for children experiencing poverty or stock a food pantry alongside colleagues, it’s a wildly different experience than sitting in a conference room together.
Volunteer opportunities promote teamwork through hands-on projects. They encourage creative thinking and problem solving too. Beyond that, and perhaps even more valuable, is the fact that when volunteering you sometimes need to step outside of your comfort zone and engage with colleagues you normally would not have in the office.
It’s all about building connections in our communities and with each other. While the definition of “coming to work” has changed in the past year due to the pandemic, our associates’ commitment to supporting our community partners has not wavered, albeit virtually.
Showing our support from home
Providing support and resources to people when they need it most is at the core of what we do as a company. That dedication has been amplified during the pandemic.
Before we began working remotely, several AmeriHealth New Jersey associates cooked and served meals to two Ronald McDonald House locations on a monthly basis. While they are no longer able to personally serve the families, they continue to deliver meals to each of the sites on a monthly basis while adhering to social distance guidelines.
AmeriHealth New Jersey is the proud sponsor of annual events including the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge in Weehawken, in support of Special Olympics New Jersey, and the Run the Bridge event in Camden, in support of Larc School.
For many of us at AmeriHealth New Jersey it’s become a tradition to attend these events and bring along our family and friends. While we’ve missed seeing each other in person this past year, our associates have found ways to be of service together from home. Many have run the distance of the races in their hometowns on the days the events would have taken place. Others have sent in pictures and videos to show support.
The way we give back has changed, but our associates’ passion for service has not wavered. To express our heartfelt thanks for the tireless work of those on the front lines, we offered to have pizza brought in for the Emergency Department staff at each of our network hospitals. Virtual donation drives have been held throughout the year to support causes like Toys for Tots, HomeFront, and local food pantries. Associates have also penned notes of thanks for frontline workers and for individuals who have fallen on hard times.
Keeping connections strong
It’s always a memorable experience when we’re onsite with our community partners, volunteering side-by-side. We look forward to providing that hands-on support again one day in the future. For the time being, we’ll continue to show our support from home and use our creativity to keep our connections strong.