How to Connect Your Distributed Team Through Employee Volunteering
The topic of volunteering has come up a lot lately with new clients, and rightfully so. Volunteering has become the "water cooler" or "softball league" culture activity that's more effective with today's talent, while simultaneously better for your reputation and community. However, managing volunteering programs is difficult, especially for companies with distributed and highly remote teams. This blog will make it easy for companies with distributed teams to introduce – and manage – engaging volunteer programs.
Why volunteering has become so popular:
- It's a labor market. 3.5% unemployment rate, lowest in 50 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Companies are becoming increasingly geo-diverse to find today's top talent. 53% percent of full-time employees globally now work remotely for at least half of the week (CNBC)
- Companies need to strategies to connect their increasingly geo-diverse talent, and today's talent is more socially-conscious than ever before. 63% MORE millennials said the primary purpose of businesses should be "improving society" than said "generating profit." (Deloitte)
General benefits of employee volunteering:
- Provide employees opportunities to give back;
- Get employees out of their offices and in the community (especially important during the summer months); and
- Connect new and old employees, like team bonding exercises on steroids!*
*Much like killing birds with stones, we don't advocate steroid use. However, the metaphor was too perfect. And volunteer events serve as team bonding exercises on steroids because scientists recently proved that giving back increases happiness. As such, new + old employees will be at their happiest and build stronger bonds when doing so while giving back.
How to effectively manage geo-diverse employee volunteering:
- Choose at least one central cause-theme that aligns with your company’s values and/or the values of your employees.
- Identify high-performing nonprofits focused on this cause that provide engagement opportunities in every place you have employees. (Note: These could be national or regional nonprofits)
- Plan market-specific events that are high-impact and accessible, allowing employees to tell your company’s “story of philanthropy” regardless of where they are located.
Specific benefits of employee volunteering (this way):
- Easier to manage. By working on a central theme or with a single organization, you can avoid the organization-specific red tape that usually accompanies multi-site volunteer projects.
- Easier to measure. Working across a central cause-theme means you can standardize impact KPIs and more easily track the total impact you team creates across these different programs.
- Easier to communicate. Internal communication - a common challenge for geo-diverse companies - will be much easier. You'll be able to tell a coherent philanthropic story across the organization while providing each employee with a personalized giving experience.
To learn more about how we help companies like yours connect their teams through volunteering, request a Percent Pledge demo.