“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands – one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn
It wasn’t just this quote from my favourite actor that made me think – why would businesses set aside employees time for volunteering? As I go about converting my skills and experience to a structured business, it strikes me as contrary to all the economic frameworks I’m familiar with. How could volunteering possibly be in sync with the basic commercial goals of making profits, saving costs and retaining employees ?
And it turns out that’s exactly what volunteering does for businesses. …and more…
A 2017 Deloitte survey of 1000 employees who had volunteered for 12 months confirms that creating a volunteer culture in the organisation doesn’t just help others, it improves the organisation as well. Volunteering boosts employee morale, improves the workplace atmosphere, and enhances the brand’s perception.
But are economies of scale accelerated with an individualistic, purposeful activity like volunteering? That leads me to explore the benefits of volunteering as an individual and as an organisational activity.
Individuals seek a sense of purpose while working in an organisation. They are attracted to a direction that leads them to grow with all their capabilities and strengths, regardless of alignment to organisational structure and required business competencies. Experience of leading a volunteer group can help build leadership skills in employees much faster and better, compared to expensive corporate training programs. And employees come out of the experience feeling good about the organisation they are working in.
Read about the ten reasons to volunteer – an insightful and heartwarming blog by Es Cee who volunteers with Project StepOne
While employees feel fulfilled at work, they perform better, make lesser mistakes and strengthen their efforts to achieve organisational goals. Getting a day in the month to volunteer or a couple of hours per week to do what best suits their individual purpose, makes employees come back to work with renewed energy and refreshed perspectives. In turn, the organisation saves costs of networking, publicity and skill building with the added benefit of having happy employees.
Communities are remarkably alert to volunteering and helping activities sponsored by brands. A strong sense of loyalty and responsibility seeps into consumers’ buying patterns, when they understand the greater purpose of the brand. Let me ask you – would you buy a brand that’s advertised as the best, or would you reach for the brand that you associated with volunteering to help during a recent natural disaster? Profit-making is largely associated with brands that have sustained supporting and helping communities in tough times. Community goodwill is another side effect of a brand’s volunteering efforts.
When Ms. Hepburn’s quote made me turn to Project StepOne to strengthen myself as an individual, it’s also made me determined to continue volunteering as an organisational goal.
So, does your corporate strategy include volunteering? Get in touch with Project StepOne to include your employees in India’s battle with COVID-19.
Step up with StepOne
The author is Sita Bhatt, Volunteer at Project StepOne