Merge's Blog

To motivate employees, organize a team volunteer event

Earlier this week, I offered up an idea in my continuing series on posts on zero and low-cost ways to motivate employees – make work fun.  I plan to write more about this subject in the upcoming months.  But for now, I also promised another zero or low-cost way to inspire and excite employees this week, so here it is – organize a team volunteer event.

Increasingly, organizations – small, large and in-between – are recognizing the value of employee volunteerism.  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 your team members, then you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for success.  Whether it’s spending the afternoon sorting food at the local food bank, doing some yardwork for a house-bound senior citizen, or fixing the patio at the local children’s club, a team volunteer project encourages teamwork, improves communication, promotes leadership, enhances employee loyalty and retention, increases job satisfaction and morale, and even improves productivity and on-job-performance.  Score!!

Some tips to make this really work:

  • 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.
  • As the leader, you need to be part of the team.  Roll up your sleeves and join in.  Even better if you can get a more senior leader from your organization to participate, even if it’s just for a fraction of the time, as it sends a positive and uplifting message to the troops.
  • Your project doesn’t need to be big or complicated.  In fact, think about starting small.  Ask your team members for ideas on what to do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the abundance and variety of responses you will receive.

Well, have you already done a volunteer project as a team at your place of employment?  How did it work out?  Good, bad or ugly, I’m interested … let’s hear it!

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