It should be normal for companies to help its employees fulfill their need to give back to the community.
Let’s face it. We call it work because it’s time spent away from family, friends and personal interests. But what if you can find a job for which you have passion, interest and inspiration? Suddenly, achieving a work/life balance becomes more feasible. Now factor in the company’s responsibilities to help you find fulfillment in addition to your daily responsibilities. Companies which provide their employees outlets for community involvement, social interaction and volunteer opportunities report a greater morale among their workforce. Companies are recognizing that promoting these endeavors is more than a self-serving PR boost. Such activities encourage employees to engage in interaction that perhaps they wouldn’t have considered finding on their own, but once involved find incredibly rewarding. Skills are often developed and hidden talents even rise to the surface that perhaps aren’t utilized during the flow of a normal workday. People who have never had the opportunity to participate in a leadership role may find they are in fact quite savvy at organizing a volunteer activity for the department. People who are shy often emerge from their comfort zone when interacting with co-workers in a non-work environment.
Companies need to think beyond the structured team building activities of picnics or retreats. Though enjoyable and a tried and true component of employee interaction, it doesn’t necessarily provide the same sense of satisfaction that comes from participating in altruistic activities. When employees work side by side at volunteer efforts, a relaxed and easy camaraderie emerges. A company recently hosted a picnic. But this picnic had a twist. The guests of honor weren’t the employees, but underprivileged children right before back to school. Employees played games with the children, prepared their food, and sent each smiling face home with a backpacks filled with supplies for the new school year. The response amongst employees? “One of the best company picnics I’ve ever attended.”