Employees at the Timberland Co., an outdoor-shoe and apparel manufacturer headquartered in Stratham, N.H., like to jump feet-first into community volunteer work. It's part of their corporate culture--and a major reason Timberland consistently ranks high on Fortune magazine's list of best companies to work for.

Timberland encourages its people to volunteer in a local community effort by compensating them with up to 40 hours pay a year for their time. Not only does the non-mandatory program generate good vibes throughout the local area, it gives Timberland employees a sense of community, both inside and outside the workplace. "It also helps us in our recruiting efforts, because people want to work for a caring company," says Elise Klysa, Timberland's senior manager of social enterprise programs.

Timberland spreads its culture outside the office, to international distributors who come to the United States for sales meetings. "Instead of taking them on sightseeing tours between business meetings, we bring them to some of our service projects," says Klysa. "There's usually some grumbling at first, but we get positive feedback that it gives them a sense of purpose."