Living the company's mission
10/31/2013

SMS Rents’ outreach helps celebrate 10 years in business

 

Editor’s note: “ARA Makes a Difference in Your Community Month” has been extended into November because of the response. If you have a philanthropic story about how you give your time and talents to help others, please send an email to Jenni Venema, ARA Foundation director of development, at jennifer.venema@ararental.org.

It started with employee circle meetings, says Marcel Langlois, president of SMS Rents, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

“Our company is celebrating 10 years in business this year. As part of this celebration, we decided to take an opportunity to revisit our company’s mission, vision and values. Earlier in the year, we held employee circle meetings in small groups throughout our store network where all employees were invited to talk about our core values. The word ‘community’ is found throughout our value statement to remind us that we are very much a part of the communities in which our stores are present. What came about from these meetings were ideas on how we could give back to the communities we serve,” he says.

Those suggestions put the wheels in motion. In July, SMS Rents, which has 14 rental stores located throughout Ontario and Quebec, initiated a “Community Impact Day.” All employees and their families were encouraged to take on a local initiative throughout the summer and fall as a way to give back to their communities.

As another incentive for participation, SMS Rents added an employee challenge. Employees can vie to be named the winner of the best, most impactful event throughout the company. Employees who participate are asked to submit a write-up of what they did and how the event impacted the community. They are asked to submit photos, too, so all employees throughout the company can vote on the best volunteer event.

“The store that had the largest impact on their community and was most creative will be crowned the winner,” says Yamen Aldajani, marketing manager. “The winners will be featured on our social media sites as well as in future issues of our eBulletin, which reaches more than 7,000 subscribers.”

Projects that employees have identified to date include:

  • Renovating public parks and playgrounds.
  • Volunteering with the local Meals on Wheels by delivering food to the elderly.
  • Planting trees.
  • Cleaning up a park.
  • Making renovations at women’s shelters.
  • Participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Run for the Cure.
  • Donating equipment and volunteering at local festivals.
  • Volunteering for soup kitchens.

The outpouring from the SMS Rents team has been extraordinary, say Aldajani and Langlois. “Some stores have up to 30 people registered for their event,” Aldajani says.

Aldajani and Langlois joined 26 of their fellow employees and their families in planting 650 trees on the last day of September in nearby Calvert Park in Brampton, Ontario. “This was an initiative by the Ministry of Environment as a way to help protect and restore the Great Lakes Water Way System,” Aldajani says. “There were approximately 100 people there with 28 from SMS Rents. It was great for team-building and for families spending time together. I had my four- and five-year-old children join in the effort. They loved it.”

Langlois agrees. “The satisfaction everyone received from this event was incredible. All had a real sense of giving back. Everyone felt good about participating and realized that it didn’t take much effort or time — it took a Saturday morning for us to plant all of those trees. Everyone is still talking about how much they enjoyed it, how much it bonded them with their co-workers and how much it meant to their families.”

That same feedback is coming from the other SMS Rents employees who are participating in this initiative. “I think it’s great for morale and teamwork. We’re hearing a lot of talk about how good everyone is feeling about participating,” Aldajani says. “These are the communities we serve and the communities we live in. It’s a way to give back to the communities that support us day in and day out.”

The initiative has been so successful that plans are in the works to make this a permanent activity. “Judging by the reaction of our employees, I’d say you can expect to see us out there again next year doing what we can for our communities,” Langlois says. RM

The American Rental Association (ARA) aims to help rental store owners, managers and employees build a better business and strengthen skills in the areas of sales, social media and phone service with the ARA Winter Webinar Series.

These web events are designed to provide quality education from well-respected speakers who deliver dynamic presentations on issues that affect rental businesses.

These webinars also can provide education for those who are not able to attend The Rental Show 2014 seminars, while presenting additional learning opportunities for those who will be in Orlando, Fla.

“The demand for quality education at an affordable price continues to rise and ARA delivers with the Winter Webinar Series,” says Carla Brozick, ARA’s senior director of education and training.

“It is our goal to make these employee-based offerings as convenient as possible for those in the equipment rental industry,” she says.

Similar off-site training sessions can cost upward of $100 or more, but for the Winter Webinar Series, each webinar is offered at $35 per computer connection for ARA members and $105 per connection for prospective members.

More information about the ARA Winter Webinar Series is available online under the “Education/Training” section at ARArental.org.