Merge's Blog

Latest in our series on effective workplace motivators – volunteer together

Last week, in our ongoing video series on workplace motivators, I gave you Strategy #22 which was very fundamental – to give your employees a safe and comfortable working environment.  Today’s strategy for engaging and motivating employees: volunteer together.

Volunteer together

True story.  It’s a weekday morning, and six members of the sales team have arrived at the home of an elderly citizen. Recently out of hospital, advanced osteoporosis means that she must now use a walker or a wheelchair, and the front-door steps that she has climbed for over 20 years are now an insurmountable challenge. She may have to leave her home.  Until the sales team comes to the rescue!  Within a matter of hours, they have a secure solid ramp built from the sidewalk to her front door. By noon, the gang is done and gathered in a restaurant just a few kilometres away, enjoying lunch, comparing injuries, and laughing about the inevitable mishaps from earlier in the day.

Another true story.  In another part of the city, all eight accounts payable team members spend their afternoon in the local food bank, sorting through huge hampers of canned and packaged goods that arrived at the warehouse after last week’s annual pre-Christmas push. It takes them almost five hours to finish their assigned section, and soon after, they make their way to the local pub for libations and snacks, where they swap stories and reminisce about the afternoon’s adventures.

The benefits are backed up by research

Research shows that volunteer projects encourage teamwork, improve communication, promote leadership and other skill development, enhance employee loyalty and retention, increase job satisfaction and morale, and even improve productivity and performance.  The reality is that when a team of people works together in harmony and fun to achieve something useful and worthwhile, then they are more engaged and more productive.  And when that “something” is a charitable pursuit that is important to one or more of the team members, then you’ve reached the level of “workplace motivators”.

So volunteer together.  Make sure that the project is something that the entire team can participate in. Everyone doesn’t need to do every task equally, but everyone should be able to contribute in a meaningful way.  Second, as a manager or supervisor, be part of the team, rolling up your sleeves and joining in.  And third, remember that your project doesn’t need to be big or complicated.  Start small.  Ask your team members for ideas on what to do and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the abundance and variety of responses you will receive.

Are your teams volunteering together?  Are you finding increased engagement and productivity as a result?  Please let us all know about your experiences by commenting below.

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