“New research shows that companies that help employees volunteer with nonprofit organizations could have a leg up with recruiting Generation Y (18-26 year-old) talent,” the VolunteerMatch website states. “Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (62%) in the 2007 Volunteer IMPACT survey by Deloitte & Touche USA said they would prefer to work for companies that give them opportunities to contribute their talents to nonprofit organizations.”
While I can’t speak for the ability to recruit talent based on a day of volunteering, I can speak to the sense of community and shifts in perspective a few hours working on a project together can give to staff.
This week, my office spent four hours volunteering at The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. It was a chance for all departments to work together on a single goal, packaging cylindrical protein for hungry families. Department staff were mixed up and divided into teams. It was the perfect opportunity to work with someone you don’t encounter regularly and see tangible evidence of your hard work in the bags of cylindrical protein ready for the freezer.
Personally, it gave me an opportunity to have non-work related conversations and get to know my coworkers a little better. It means when I pick up the phone to call someone or walk over to their office, I can start a conversation with, “how’s the previously unnamed baby horse doing? Does she have a name, yet?” Instead of a rote conversation with meaningless phrases, (hi, how are you? Fine. You? Fine. Silence.) I can show I paid attention to what you said and value you as a person and a colleague.
The subtle change in the atmosphere at the office for the rest of the day and week, were noticeable. Everyone seemed to be in a better mood.
I understand that not every company will give their employees paid time to volunteer and that I am incredibly lucky to work in an organization that was not only willing to give us the time, but encouraged us to take it. I think the four hours was more than worth it.