IBM does it. Home Depot and British Airways do it. Even smaller, lesser known companies like Cabot Corporation and Two Men and a Truck do it. They all encourage their employees to participate in some sort of community service. Some encourage individuals and others encourage group activities. Either way, these companies have learned that there are benefits of employee volunteering and workplace community service.
In my research on the topic I have found several publications that provide imporant research into the topic. These documents are quite long and can be quite boring in places. However if you are a person who is looking to start an employee volunteer or community service program for you may want to download and reference these because they present wonderful business cases.
- The Benefits of Employee Volunteer Programs by Junior Achievement
- Volunteering: The Most Cost Effective Way to Train and Develop your Staff by The City of London Corporation
- Good Companies, Better Employees by Corporate Citizenship
- Valuing Employing Community Involvement by Michael Tuffey of Corporate Citizenship
Nutshell view: Why I Think Workplace Community Service is Great
- Its a perfect teambuilding exercise: Teambuilding gets such a bad rap. Automatically we think of ropes courses, goofy trust exercises, and never-ending breakout and small group sessions. However, community service projects appeal to employees' good nature and willingness to help another in need. While working on said project with colleagues, employees can complete many teambuilding objectives without the need to scale some huge tree and trust that someone will catch them if they jump off or fall off (whatever the case may be).
- Employee Retention: Research (from above) indicates that companies that have community service activities retain more employees.
- Improved morale: There is no better feeling than helping someone who needs it. This positive feeling, when associated with the workplace, can improve workplace and employee morale.
- Its easy and inexpensive: You don't have to sign up to build a house or a playground. You can do something simple like collect books for an afterschool program, collect school supplies for foster kids, have a food drive, or partner with a meals on wheels group and offer to clean the gutters of the homes of two families in need.
- It doesn't have to take a lot of time. Many activities, especially fundraising for a cause, can be done over a lunch hour.
Dollar Philanthropy has a whole category that will help you come up with ideas suitable for workplaces. Explore. Also feel free to comment or send me an email (carol at drivinging in traffic dot com) telling me about your great idea-- pictures welcome too!
So now get busy! The holidays will be upon us soon and people love to help people during the holidays. Start planning now!
Photo Credit: Schipulites