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Helping Others Makes Employees Happy

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
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Each company—large or small—has its vision, mission, and goals. Employees, from upper management to part-time interns, are a part of a team because of their goal-oriented mindsets, valuable skillsets, and appreciation for the philosophies and objectives of the organization. It’s this collection of individual talents that leads to goals being set, met, and exceeded. 

But even company achievements, continually accomplished by a stellar team, may not be enough to keep a unit engaged and enthused all the time. Acknowledging, celebrating, and crediting successes to a team goes beyond the professional perspective; the human element of raising intrinsic feelings of pride, joy, and worth among team members is where the bigger picture of giving back becomes vital. 

Studies show that feelings of positivity and worth increase when people are being of service in the communities where they work and live. As Ghandi wrote, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in service of others.” 

Make it personal 

It is one thing for a CFO or president to cut a check to a charitable cause, but the value of organizing participation by each team member to be of service has much longer lasting, positive psychological effects for everyone involved. It is that connection to the community that can help make tight-knit teams even stronger. 

To elevate the personal psyche of a team, there are a few avenues of giving back that a company can incorporate into its business rhythm. From a simple marketing perspective, it is logical to choose a cause that is linked to the organization’s mission and core values. Sure, helping many charities would be ideal, but organizing charitable involvement is time-consuming, so choosing the best fit makes the most sense logistically. 

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Take the initiative and have your work group sponsor a unique event for a selected charitable cause. By taking ownership and creating a specific event, such as a 5K walk/run, car wash, or “Eat the Street” event, you’re showing employees and the community that organizational goals and involvement go beyond profit margins and revenue gains. The website Better Fundraising Ideas has an extensive a list of ideas.  Many can occur at times when they aren’t competing with other major events in your community. 

Another way to assist employees in giving back is to designate “giving days” when employees can individually or as small groups take a paid workday to give their time to a charitable organization of their choice. You might also want to pitch this idea to your executive staff as an enterprise-wide initiative. 

Get started 

You have the tools and talent right in front of you, so let employees set up a task force and have drive the project, choosing how they would like to be involved. Some may enjoy an organizational role, coordinating with city officials, chamber of commerce, charity directors and relevant vendors. Others may simply want to participate at the event itself. Throughout the process, besides seeing happy employees, you may find new talents from your staff you never knew existed. 

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During initial discussions with staff members get them excited; let them know how important an event like this is for all those involved. Perhaps bring a member of the charity to a staff meeting so they can explain the charity and how their cause specifically benefits those in need. 

Some team members will get excited immediately, while others may see an event like this only as extra work. Through leadership and delivery, provide those employees who need that extra push a jumpstart. When all is said and done, their sense of happiness will exist long after being of service for a charitable cause. 

Bottom line 

The reasoning behind supporting a charity event should be for the charity and their cause—that comes first and foremost. A possible bonus throughout the process is the networking that will take place that probably would not have occurred otherwise. Working with other businesses, vendors, and the charities themselves may open business opportunities down the road. 

Company parties, rewards, and bonuses have their place—there’s no question. But the feelings received from giving back, that’s a truly human experience, creating in employees a happy intrinsic feeling that could carry them further and be more rewarding than a company pat on the back. Giving back has the capacity to heighten morale and daily outlook for each of your valuable team members. 

About the Author

Malati Marlene Shinazy, M.Ed. is the founder of Pacific Leadership Consultants, facilitator of 4 Key Success Factors of High Engagement Organizational Cultures, author, and popular conference speaker. She works with successful organizations to build strong internal cultures by developing leaders their employees want to follow, managers with people skills that motive employees to meet their goals, cohesive teams that are fun to work in, and diverse employees who contribute varied points of view. Contact Malati via pacificleadershipconsultants.com or [email protected]

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