Andrew Rasheed · employee engagement · volunteering

Andrew Rasheed – A Helping Hand: How Volunteer Work Can Improve Work Environment and Employee Satisfaction

It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of life. You get up, get ready, go to work, go home. Maybe go out with friends or family every now and then. And with as much time as we spend at work, it ends up taking up a large portion of your time. Your work can be extremely fulfilling, and you can be very committed to it, but you still might feel like you want to be doing something…more, with the time that you have.

One way that companies are encouraging their employees to feel more fulfilled in their work life is by encouraging volunteering. And because it can sometimes be difficult to find time to volunteer around other day-to-day activities, some companies are even encouraging volunteer work during company time, as a team, or allowing team members to take a paid day off for volunteer work.

The truth is, volunteering can have significant benefits, both to you and to your community. It can help you learn new skills, or reduce stress. It can help employees connect to one another in a more relaxed environment, and make them feel like the company they’re with is concerned with the world outside the office. These are all things that should be encouraged by a good leader.

And by helping employees be engaged in volunteer work, you can help them be more engaged team members in general. According to a 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey of employed adults from ages 21 to 35, millennials who often take part in workplace volunteer activities are almost twice as likely “to be very satisfied with the progression of their career.” And happy, engaged employees are hardworking, efficient employees.

One other benefit of encouraging volunteer work as a company is, frankly, good PR. By engaging in social corporate responsibility, you can make your company more visible in the community, and foster a more positive association with your brand. If members of the community see that your company and/or its employees are out and about, trying to better that community, there’s a chance they will become customers. And that’s great for any business.

But, disregarding the possible gain when it comes to customers, there are also great benefits for a company that allows its employees to engage in more volunteer work when it comes to company culture. According to an article on Fast Company in 2014, in a UnitedHealth Group study, 87% of people who volunteered in the previous year reported that volunteering helped develop teamwork and people skills, and 81% said volunteering together strengthened relationships among colleagues. That’s a phenomenal return on investment of time and resources, and those are the sort of results leaders should always seek out.

So consider encouraging volunteer work among your staff. Maybe take part in established volunteer day initiatives, such as Earth Day activities. Or even come up with your own volunteer initiative tailored to your company — like LinkedIn did with their InDay, a program that allows employees one Friday a month to give back to the community in some way.

There are countless companies out there for both clients and potential employees to choose from. Why not help yours stand out as one that wants to do just a little bit more when it comes to contributing to your community?

Andrew Rasheed

Andrew Rasheed – Best of the Best: How Top Companies Can Get (And Keep) Top Talent

Every experienced manager knows that you’re only as good as the team working with you and that it’s vital for the success of a business to not only attract the most effective team, but also to retain these top employees.

A lot of work goes into hiring a new team member. You have to be sure that the employee is a good fit for the company, and that the company, in turn, is a good fit for the employee. After you’ve brought on new talent, you have to assure you’re doing what you can as a leader to keep them.

Generally, top talent have proven themselves in their field and oftentimes have opportunities to move to other companies – sometimes competing companies. So, the question is – how do you go about retaining top talent and making sure they are happy in their roles?

There are actually a few ways to improve employee retention – some of which I explain here as well.

Individualized Benefits

It’s not a secret that good benefits can be the key to bringing on a new employee. If they have a choice between companies that offer a similar salary, but one that offers a better benefits package, why wouldn’t a potential new hire choose the latter?

Those benefits don’t have to be standard to every employee — in fact, it’s a good idea to tailor benefits to the individual. If they’d prefer a different vacation package over company cars, make that happen. Every employee is different, and their needs are different. Pay attention to what your talent actually wants when it comes to benefits.

Flexible Work Arrangements

More companies are learning to be more flexible with work arrangements and allowing more work-from-home options to employees. If your employee can get just as much work done from home, it can’t hurt to let them refrain from coming into the office now and then, or fairly regularly.

Sometimes employees have family obligations they are responsible for; responsibilities which do not lessen their commitment to their work. Why not honor the fact that they want to do right by both? A work-life balance is important, and companies that recognize that will have happier employees.

Personal and Professional Development

Even if you think your employee is the best-of-the-best, people get bored if they feel like they’ve peaked in their job, or have nothing left to learn or accomplish.

That’s why it’s important to try to offer personal and professional development opportunities to your team, and assist them with career advancement options. If you make talent feel like an asset, they’ll take notice.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

The last thing you ever want to do as a leader is create a toxic work environment for your employees, or make them feel like they can’t express themselves or share concerns. Creating an open work environment has a real impact on employees. After all, would you stick around if you didn’t feel comfortable in your job, and had the opportunity to move on to greener pastures?

Finding and keeping exceptional talent at a company can be tough. The bottom line is: think about what you would want from a company as an employee, and go from there. You can’t go wrong with that approach.