Celebrate People. Celebrate Impact.
Every Employee Volunteering Program deserves an appreciation of its people, teams, and a showcase of the positive impact its had on beneficiaries.
Think through these tips that’ll reward you greatly both in the short, and long term.
Celebrate Top Performers among the Volunteers, not more than 3-5 (medium orgs) or 7-10 (large orgs) employees. A top performer does not necessarily have to be someone who is great at what he is paid for i.e. core function. There may be many good performers, but some will clearly stand out. If you don’t have criterions that help identify one, create them earlier when you strategise for the Employee Volunteering Program. Partner with Internal Communications, call out top performers during a Town Hall, or shoot an email to all employees, display their photos onto your digital screens.
Do not forget to acknowledge the role of the manager. An appreciative personal email from the CEO or one of the key leaders will go a long way. Not all managers may be proactively encouraging their employees. Nevertheless, it is important to thank those who do, and those who don’t. The ones who do, will stand out as exemplary managers, while the others are mostly those who either aren’t aware or just do not bother. It’s important that managers are made aware and encouraged to acknowledge specific strengths of their team members.
Most employees look up to their leaders. Any encouragement from them is a huge emotional incentive to do more for the company. Reach out to key leaders to appreciate the volunteer in a joint forum of volunteers or even an encouraging email.
Similarly, in the case of the individual volunteer, appreciate volunteer teams as well. Highlight strengths that enabled them to be impactful.
Include your trusted non-profit partner in your celebrations. Invite them for a slot during the Town Hall or host an exclusive session with volunteers and supportive leaders. Get the beneficiaries to showcase the impact. It’s always going to be much more credible when beneficiaries endorse the work done by Employee Volunteers.
Rally your Volunteer team to spread the word on Social. Create posts for them wherever necessary. Highlight the opportunities provided by the organisation to it’s employees, and the great work being done by the non-profit partner. Videos or quotes taken by employees, if shared on personal networks, brings greater visibility and appreciation for employees, and impact.
Most companies record Impact, but often fail to showcase the outcomes externally or even internally. Reporting is necessary, and so is celebrating Impact at all levels to keep the spirit alive for your campaigns, to keep it going.
Most Volunteers forget about results, very few come back and ask. Even for one time events that involve planting saplings, matching programs that donate to NGOs based on employee hours spent should also be shared with all employees. Especially when it is a significant amount collected and a tangible change has occurred.
For example, at an event I once volunteered for, had over 100 employees who spent more than five hours at the NGO site organizing various activities for children. More than $10,000, which is over INR 6,40,000, was collected and used for providing a brick-walled space, including chairs and tables, and a few laptops for a computer center. When the volunteers were notified, it went viral internally, encouraging more employees to fund for the computer center. Today, those children are moving onto mainstream schools at a higher rate. So much from a one-off event.
Word of Mouth is still, and always will be, the most powerful medium of communication. Social Media (Communication) a.k.a digital word of mouth, has taken it to a new level.
When we showcase change using internal channels, it develops a sense of pride in employees, inspires non-doers to contribute as well and be part of the change.
Showcasing Impact effects employees, leaders, non-profit partners, customers, and other organizations in the community. Stories need to be told, changemakers need to be appreciated.
Keep these three key aspects in mind while developing your Employee Volunteering Program or any Employee Engagement Program. Building a Team, Inspiring Hearts and Minds, and Celebrating People and the Impact achieved will always be a need.