A guest blog by Charles Olson

What does it mean to Serve?  I suppose it depends on the context, so let’s focus on what it means to serve in the business sense.  At OCI we talk a lot about providing excellent customer service and making sure that an emphasis is placed on ensuring our partners have the best experience possible.  What I’ve come to learn over the years is that it has to go much deeper than that.  We can provide an image of great customer service but unless we foster a culture that truly lives that out in every aspect of what we do, it won’t be sustainable over the long term.  We believe that in order to serve and have a servant mentality here at OCI it has to relate to be present in the way we interact with our Clients (Brokers), our Suppliers (Carriers/Vendors), Our Team (Fellow Employees) & The Community (Social Involvement).  Serving brokers and carriers is the most obvious form of service OCI provides.  After all, we don’t manufacture a product so if we aren’t providing the best service we aren’t doing our job.  We take the high level of service we provide to our partnered brokers and carriers very seriously and work hard every day to focus on that.

An often overlooked part of what it means to serve at work is with the co-workers we interact with every single day.  It’s easy to get so caught up in providing service outside of these walls that we take for granted the things happening within them.  Without an emphasis on serving each other as part of a team, we will never truly provide the level of service required to be at the top of our game.  It takes everyone being selfless and working together to achieve the greater good for true success to occur.  Finding ways to help those close to you will go a long way in creating a culture of superb customer service.  The mentality of “how can I help” is what takes a service company like ours to the next level.

But even fostering this sense of service internally isn’t enough.  To truly incorporate a service mentality into the culture of a company, I believe it has to go beyond the company itself and be an integral part of your overall strategy.  Last year OCI set a goal of having each employee volunteer a total of 16 hours.  Those hours were paid hours and employees were separated into teams to go out and spend time with an organization we were supporting.  This year we sent teams to help with the Special Olympics Summer Games Aquatics, Habitat for Humanity, setup for a Ronald McDonald House fundraiser & distribute food at the Heart Ministry Center.

Giving back to the community has had a tremendous impact on the staff and a huge return on investment.  Everyone has a sense that they are making a difference in the lives of those they worked with or through.  It has helped foster a sense of teamwork and the meaningful impact that they can have through OCI.  But most importantly, it brought to the forefront an attitude of service in everything we do.

What does it mean to Serve?  At OCI it means service isn’t just present in the work we do, it’s present in the lives we live.