Organizations today are increasingly becoming aware of their responsibility of contributing towards the development of the society and the community. A large number of organizations offer financial and material assistance to various agencies working in the field of community service. While such financial assistance might seem to be a good enough contribution by the organizations for most, many organizations are encouraging the involvement and participation of the members of their workforce in community service. Other organizations need to answer the question – should organizations recognize employees for community service?
Recognizing employees for community service Traditionally, organizations have been recognizing employees for their efforts, contributions, and achievements that help in driving business growth. More recently employee recognition programs have come to include specific behaviours that have a positive impact on other organization values such as collaboration, innovation, integrity, etc. A few organizations have taken the lead in recognizing employees who volunteer for various social services, though it might not be directly related to its core business. This, of course, remains a matter of debate in many organizations whether employee recognition programs should consider such activities. However, many progressive organizations understand that recognizing their employees who participate in such community outreach programs can have a positive impact on them
When it comes to recognizing employees volunteering for community services, organizations need to justify the same. The most important benefits for such initiatives are as follows:
1. Improves teamwork and collaboration
Encouraging employees to contribute voluntarily to community service can help in improving the sense of coordination and cooperation between co-workers. Volunteering teaches employees the skill of giving without expecting anything in return and gradually this habit can become an integral part of their personalities. As more members of the workforce feel inspired to volunteer, this habit gets inculcated as part of the work culture of the organization. This ensures that co-workers show a greater willingness to help and support each other, creating a work environment that is based on mutual coordination and collaboration.
2. Encourages innovation and problem solving
Employees might also get opportunities to utilize their technical capabilities and creative thinking to overcome practical challenges of community work. This too can have a positive impact on their performance at work and help in business growth.
3. Builds interpersonal skills
Employees volunteering for community services are known to have better interpersonal skills than their peers. This is because they have to deal with individuals of different personality types, temperaments and backgrounds. Employees are able to empathize with the very people they are trying to serve. They learn to deal with different types of people with greater patience and confidence. This rubs off on their dealings with their difficult colleagues at the workplace. It builds conflict management skills that help in creating a more peaceful and harmonious work environment.
4. Hones leadership and organizational skills
Most organizations understand the importance of identifying potential leaders and ensure that they are groomed for bigger roles within the organization. Employees volunteering for social service often exhibit the key traits that are desired in a good leader including effective communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to motivate others, and the confidence to take initiatives and overcome challenges, etc. Organizations can then nurture such potential leaders through right guidance, mentoring, and support to take up key organizational positions sometime in the future.
5. Boosts employee morale
When employees are rewarded for something that is for the greater good of society and not just themselves or the organization, they feel truly valued and appreciated as individuals. This helps in boosting their morale and improves their sense of self-worth. It helps them earn the respect of their co-workers and society at large. It helps to improve the overall motivation levels of the employees which can have a positive impact on their performance and efficiency at work.
6. Improves organization reputation and goodwill
When an organization chooses to recognize its employees for their social work, it sends out a strong positive message to the entire professional community. Such gestures are reflective of the fact that the organization takes its corporate social responsibility very seriously and promotes similar behaviour exhibited by the members of its workforce. This creates a positive impact on the perception of the organization among its customers, business partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders. The organization is perceived to be responsible and reliable and enhances its market credibility and goodwill.
Recognizing employees for their contribution towards community service goes to show that the organization too cares for the greater good of society and encourages its employees to be directly involved in such initiatives. This goes one step beyond just contributing financially to agencies who work with social causes.
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