APA Center for Organizational Excellence: Best Practice Honoree

The Awards

Leading by Example

MinnesotaOrion Associates, a small management services organization, was founded on the principle of service to others. It is through volunteer experiences with its not-for-profit Headwater Relief Organization that employees learn hands-on leadership skills to take back to the office.

As a values-driven organization, Orion has encouraged volunteerism since its inception and attracts employees who have an unmatched enthusiasm for giving back. The Leaders in Service program is a natural extension of this philosophy, benefitting employees, the community, clients and Orion’s bottom line.

During the past two years, 94 percent of Orion employees have volunteered their time, talents and energies to relief efforts. In the process, they have learned real-life lessons in leadership. By stepping up and coming to the aid of others in crisis, these employees have become more adaptable as well as better creative thinkers. And they have improved leadership abilities that extend far beyond any they could have learned in a seminar.

In supporting employee volunteer efforts, Orion has extended its service philosophy to its own workforce, and in turn generated unique opportunities for personal growth, leadership development and personal fulfillment.

"WSU Vancouver is very proud of this award because it recognizes not just our on-campus programs but also the active involvement of employees in making the campus community a healthy workplace."

Jeanne Greene, SPHR
Director of Human Resources
Washington State University Vancouver