Let’s face it, December is a really hard time to keep employees engaged. Between online shopping, endless parties, vacation planning, not to mention endless distractions, even the best managers can find it challenging to keep your team focused on work. Instead of resigning to another year of getting nothing done, channel your teams energy while doing good in the community by engaging your employees for good.
Employee engagement with non-profits is a win-win for both. Companies who are actively give back strengthen their public perception and reputation in the community. Co-workers who volunteer together report higher levels of morale and employee engagement. Employees working shoulder to shoulder with their co-workers provides a greater sense of purpose and stronger company pride. Plus this is an excellent opportunities for employees to develop new skills that they are able to use in their job.
For the non-profit, December is often their greatest month of need for both goods and volunteers. Whether its serving meals to the homeless or collecting toys for low income families there is high demand for services, while many non-profits are understaffed. Many non-profits welcome volunteer groups because they have availability during the work week and having groups fill volunteer shifts takes the pressure off non-profit staff to fill each slot by individuals.
If you’re team is new to non-profit involvement, here are strategies to keep your employees happily engaged over the holidays.
Find a cause that your team is passionate about:
Your charity of choice should be a cause that aligns with your companies values and is an issue that your employees are passionate about. Most companies find that a local organization is most rewarding because they are able to give back to the community they live in and serve. If you are unaware of the non-profits in your area, connect with your local community foundation or http://www.volunteermatch.org for referrals. Once you have a couple non-profit candidates, further research how each organization uses their funds. The majority (80% or higher) of their funds should be devoted to program support.
Determine How Your Company Can Best leverage non-profit needs:
Use your businesses existing resources to better serve the needs of the community. A great example of this took place over Thanksgiving when a youth center had to distribute 1,000 frozen turkeys to the families they were serving. The non-profit connected with their local teamsters union who used their manpower (literally) to offload the turkeys off the truck and into the hands of the community. Win/win!
Create A Festive & Fun Atmosphere:
This shouldn’t be another work day for your team – this is a chance for them to get out of the office and give back to the community. Whether wearing crazy socks, playing a holiday playlist, or catering the serve day with a favorite food can set the mood for employees. This is also a great opportunity for management to get to know their team in a relaxed setting. Don’t talk shop, ask questions and get to know the people you work alongside.
Nothing is more meaningful for employees to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts, especially coming from management. If a member of the team goes the extra mile, public recognition in front of their peers shows the team that their hard works are appreciated. It can be as simple as publicly highlighting key project leaders during a staff meeting or thanking them in an e-mail. Of course, gift cards, a couple extra hours of vacation, or other tangible incentives are also appreciated.