Want a Better Working Environment? Encourage Workplace Volunteerism
If you’re an Avaya employee like me, Halloween or Diwali are likely not the first things that come to mind when thinking about the month of October. For us, it’s our Month of Giving program, which we first introduced in 2015. The success of it—60 teams across 32 locations raising more than $250,000—guaranteed it would become an annual tradition, and it did. In our second year, we nearly doubled our results. More than that, though, is what we learned about volunteering’s impact on a company: it’s been good for morale—really good.
The connection between volunteerism and engagement is catching on big time in the business community. Take for example a recent Deloitte study, which revealed that an overwhelming majority (89%) of employees think companies that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment. In addition, 70% believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost staff morale than company-sponsored happy hours, with more than three-quarters saying volunteering is essential to employee well-being. Couple this data with the impact to companies. Volunteering:
- Helps attract top talent
- Engages, develops, and retains employees
- Boosts public image
- Improves the bottom line
The numbers are both powerful and empowering. In my view, they give employers a smart path forward to help foster a culture that celebrates volunteering and inspires employees to become more active and productive (both in and out of the office). And, of course, the real benefit is the ripple effect these opportunities have on the health of our planet and the communities where we live and do business.
When it comes to Avaya, it’s no secret we’ve weathered a few storms, particularly this past year. It would have been very easy to take Month of Giving 2017 off the table and focus those resources on other areas of the business. Our CEO and leadership team wouldn’t consider it. They see our month of volunteering as part of our DNA and something our employees have come to rely on and value. It’s not an option. It’s truly a key to our success.
Once again, we bested ourselves. Our Online Silent Auction raised more money this year than the past two years we’ve held it. We don’t have the final results tallied just yet. But teams in the double digits rallied together with fundraisers and volunteer hours to support charitable organizations like Save the Children, Ronald McDonald House, Doctors Without Borders, disaster relief (through organizations like the Red Cross), local animal shelters, and food banks. Responding to feedback we received last year, we added a new virtual component for 2017 so our employees who work remotely could participate in activities from wherever they sit in the world and still feel connected to the broader Avaya community. We can’t wait to review our final numbers.
Our Month of Giving outcomes each year are extraordinary, which have led to solid employee engagement metrics for our company year-over-year. More than that though, the results give insight into the compassion, commitment, resilience, spirit, and camaraderie of our Avaya team and partners. In fact, our people are the reason we’ll emerge later this year as a stronger, healthier, and public Avaya.
I can’t think of anything that delivers a genuine and long-lasting feel-good factor quite like volunteering. It’s what employees want, it’s what our communities need and, quite frankly, it’s just good business sense.