Get Your Company More Involved With Community Service
Altruism is becoming so mainstream these days that people are using it as a metric when searching for employment since companies that encourage community participation are also known for a more open and friendly work culture, something many people seek in lieu of just a salary. Fortune even compiled a list of the 50 best places to work if you’re interested in giving back to your community. The yearly rankings are further broken down by demographic and/or industry, for those who want a more detailed list. There are many reasons to encourage charity among your employees and encourage a sense of community around a business.
Volunteering is good for people’s health. Research has shown that those who help their community feel less depressed and have a lower chance of developing age-related illnesses later in life. In addition, employees who get to spend time with their families are notoriously happier. Giving people the chance to bring family members along to help out with projects increases their quality home time. It’s also a great way to strengthen your business’ role in the community. The majority of your employees don’t just work in the community, they also live there, so it makes sense to use their abilities to benefit your company’s brand while also helping others.
There are many positive ways to encourage your employees to give back. The best advice is to find out what the vulnerabilities are that hold people back and then find ways to accommodate. For many employees, time and money are major issues. Either they don’t have free time to spend outside of the office to volunteer, or they can’t afford to take a day off work to help. Either offer paid time off for hours spent volunteering or the option to volunteer during work hours.
Sometimes a lack of communication and awareness are the only obstacles. If employees don’t know about opportunities, it’s a guarantee they aren’t going to sign up for them. Make sure you advertise all upcoming projects, as well as the benefits you’re offering, by using a medium such as a newsletter, group email or flyers displayed in prominent areas. Announcements during meetings are also a great way to get people excited and enthusiastic, especially if they sense your enthusiasm. Let people know which projects that management is excited about and lead by example because enthusiasm is contagious. Having people in one place and in-person is also a great time to solidify their commitment by passing around carpool and signup sheets.
Volunteering is also a great way to teach employees new life skills and offer career advancement. People who are involved in a hands-on project also feel a sense of ownership and pride which carries to all other aspects of their life, including work.
Assign project leaders or let groups decide. Make sure to emphasize each employee’s strengths.
It’s important to offer a variety of projects to stave off charity fatigue. Employees want to feel challenged and have a sense of accomplishment but they also want to have fun while helping out. Some people might also feel alienated if they cannot help with certain tasks such as physical labor, so diversifying your projects helps cater to everyone. For people who are time-challenged, make sure you offer a variety of project times and lengths to try and adhere to everyone’s individual schedules as much as you possibly can.
People really respond to recognition. Rewarding a team or an individual for their charitable contributions not only makes them feel like doing more, but it also makes other employees want to be recognized. Financial rewards are always appreciated but you should also let your employees know that your company recognizes volunteerism when raises and promotions are being evaluated.