Collaboration is critical in any work environment, no matter the industry you operate in.
In the workplace, collaboration involves a group of people sharing their skills and ideas to achieve a common goal.
Working collaboratively, instead of individually, enables productivity to rise and employees to have a sense of purpose. So, it makes sense that you would want to look for different ways to boost collaboration in the workplace.
In this post, we are going to take a look at how employee volunteer programs can help to boost collaboration. We’ll reveal the benefits of these programs, as well as providing some tips on implementation.
What are employee volunteer programs?
An employee volunteer program can be defined as a workplace-based initiative whereby employers offer some form of encouragement or support to enable employees to volunteer in the community.
These sort of initiatives tend to be deemed part of the company’s overall approach to corporate community involvement (CCI) or corporate philanthropy, and the somewhat broader concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Examples of volunteering work include the likes of:
- Volunteering at a community centre
- Marine conservation
- Volunteering with children
- Fundraising for a local charity
- Helping out at an animal shelter
- Wildlife conservation
- Volunteering at the community library
As you can see, there are many different ways that businesses can help out and give back to the local community.
Employee volunteering is a worldwide phenomenon that small and big companies have fully embraced. Moreover, with increasing interest in workplace volunteerism from both the non-profit and government sector, we are seeing this brand out of just the private market.
How will a volunteer program lead to improved collaboration?
There are a lot of benefits associated with employee volunteer programs, yet a lot of business owners tend to overlook the increased collaboration these programs can bring.
A lot of businesses assume that open office space is the key to improved collaboration, or that scheduling more meetings is the way to go.
However, if you have ever tried the two approaches mentioned, you will know that collaboration does not enhance accidentally.
So, how does collaboration improve by implementing volunteer programs? Let’s take a look at the many ways volunteering can enhance and improve your work environment and communication between employees:
Volunteer programs increase the feeling of trust amongst your workforce
Collaboration improves when your employees trust each other more, and volunteer opportunities provide an exceptional way of strengthening trust.
The magic happens in these programs when you bring together people from different generations and backgrounds.
Volunteer programs enable people to connect on a human level that is simply not possible in an office environment. They will feel connected on a deeper level, and this is something that will only benefit the workplace.
Employees will feel encouraged to work harder for one another. Plus, they will trust in each other more, which all comes together to foster better collaboration in the work environment.
Rapport between employees is built thanks to volunteer programs
Another way that collaboration is enhanced is because volunteering together helps to build rapport.
Providing your workers with a chance to build rapport can enhance company operations drastically. By creating an environment that is focused on teamwork, this leads to a number of other knock-on benefits.
These advantages include improved corporate flexibility, increased innovation, and enhanced relationships.
When you consider that 75 percent of employers believe teamwork and collaboration are highly important, it is not hard to see why this is so significant.
By investing in the development of an employee volunteer program, you can give your staff the outlet that is needed so that they can use teamwork to achieve their common goals.
Volunteer programs help to engage new employees
Another way that volunteer programs can boost collaboration is by engaging new employees.
Millennials today are not only interested in the amount of money they earn but they care about the impact they have on the environment.
This is why potential new workers will always express an interest in the volunteering opportunities potential employers provide.
Volunteering attracts new workers and it can often play a vital role when it comes to deciding what job to choose.
These sorts of activities appeal to millenials especially who enjoy sharing their activities and ideas via different media channels, and this is how they engage more people by bringing awareness about different issues in the workplace.
Not only do volunteering opportunities help to attract millennials to your business in the first place, but these programs help new workers to connect with the rest of the team, which brings about effective collaboration.
All employees are involved
Aside from the points that we have mentioned so far, we cannot ignore the obvious factor that by simply involving everyone in an activity, it brings people together and encourages great team building.
By getting your team involved in specific types of volunteer activities, a lot of your workers will show their hidden talents while others will enhance specific skills and develop a sense of creativity.
This is why it is important to make sure that each and every employee is involved in the volunteer program you establish.
You will be able to retain your best talent
Another benefit associated with employee volunteer programs is that they help you to retain the best talent.
We all know how frustrating it can be when one of your star employees moves onto another business.
This is why it is important to craft careful strategies that will encourage employees to stay with your company. By enabling workers to give back to the community, they have a feeling that their job means more than simply what they are achieving for your business. They have a great sense of purpose.
Employees will also work on key skills that can help them in the workplace, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication.
One of the main reasons why we see a lot of employees switch jobs is because they do not feel like they are progressing, and so employee volunteer programs can also help with this.
You may be wondering what this hasto do with collaboration! Well, it can be very difficult to achieve peak levels of collaboration if your offices are like revolving doors, with new employees coming in and leaving all of the time.
Collaboration is built on foundations of trust and familiarity. Everyone has different communication styles and ways of working, and it takes time to establish connections in the workplace.
Therefore, keeping your team as constant as possible and making sure there are not too many changes is important.
It makes it eaiser for your staff members to connect
The culture of your business or organization will take a noticable boost with an employee volunteer program in place.
It makes it a lot easier for your employees to know one another better. You may think that simply working together makes it easy for people to connect. But that is not the case. It can be challenging to do so in a workplace environment, so employee volunteering provides an amazing way around this.
Furthermore, it gives your employees – who likely come from different backgrounds – the ability to find some common ground.
Leadership skills will improve
In order for businesses to collaborate effectively, there needs to be good leadership. Without leadership, there is no sense of direction, and things can often end up going off-track.
If you are participating in a volunteering event or program, this can certainly assist with building and developing your leadership skills.
Volunteer programs and giving back initiatives must first be highly supported by leaders, at the highest level of leadership within the company.
It is important to remember that the philosophy of giving back is an essential in our daily lives for a lot of people. Therefore, by giving individuals the ability to use their work in a manner to comply with it, you are providing them with the most precious giftof support and understanding.
Foster communication and team building
Volunteer programs also help to connect like-minded individuals who work together, giving them a great opportunity to give back to society.
The satisfaction that is harvested from such actions is something a lot of HR managers tend to underestimate, which can become quite a big issue.
All in all, participation in volunteering programs has become an advantageous tool for team building and communication as well.
By working together to attain a charitable objective, people come closer together, and it makes them interact, come to decisions, negotiate, and actually get to know one another. You will be surprised how much of a difference this makes in the work environment.
Final words on improving your team collaboration through volunteer programs
So there you have it: an insight into employee volunteer programs and how they can improve collaboration at your business.
By uniting your employees for the greater good, it helps to create a stronger bond and boost collaboration at your business. This is something thatg all businesses can benefit from.