Volunteering with Coworkers

This is going to sound counter-intuitive, but hear us out: allowing employees to work for other organizations will make them better employees.

Now, we don’t mean any kind of other work. Specifically, volunteering can boost team performance.  Studies show that many employees want their organization to support social and/or environmental causes. This correlates with the second biggest driver of employee engagement: an organization’s reputation in the community. Simply put, when employees see their organization become involved, they get more involved, too.

Since it’s officially National Volunteer Week, we thought we’d give you a few ideas on how companies can enhance team performance through volunteer work:

Top 7 Ways Volunteering with Coworkers Can Boost Team Performance

1. Increase productivity
When employees are working together, productivity increases. It’s a pretty simple equation. Volunteer work develops and enhances that teamwork vibe, particularly when it’s supporting their shared community.

2. Choose volunteer work that works with your organization
By putting the power of your business toward the social good, it not only sets a precedent but allows you to position your organization in a positive light.  Choose volunteer work that complements your brand and mission. For example, if your business focuses on wellness and building health, volunteering with a clinic or another wellness initiative enhances that perception.

3. Break down silos
In any organization, people tend to focus on their work and departments, sometimes without venturing out of their bubble. When structuring the volunteer work, consider mixing up the teams. Create teams with people from IT, Sales, Marketing, Accounting, whatever areas you have. It’s an opportunity for employees from different divisions and levels to connect.

4. Make it #social
Do businesses even have water coolers anymore? Most socialization nowadays takes place online in the form of Snapchat, Instagram, and other social channels. Encourage employees to take their volunteer experience there as well. Create a company hashtag and utilize on existing networks, or companies can use their own intranet for sharing photos, memories and more.

5. Increase company pride
For many, giving back is an important part of life. Socially-conscious employees may seek out volunteer opportunities on their own, but providing them through work ties them together, enhancing the pride taken in both types of work.

6. Design opportunities that fit with your business model
Even if your organization simply isn’t structured to close down for a day while everyone volunteers, there are other ways to do it. Volunteer your own businesses services, for example, or take turns throughout the week during which smaller teams can head out to do some feel-good work.

7. Create a narrative worth sharing
What was the impact of the volunteer work? Who was helped? How many? Answering these questions helps construct a story that can be shared in multiple ways. Add it to an annual report, marketing materials, recruitment profiles, etc. Potential employees or clients may be influenced by seeing an organization taking a stand these days.

Does your company organize all-employee volunteer events? What is your group’s favorite?