Monster at Work

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22
Apr 2014

Boost morale by celebrating employees who volunteer

They aren't in it for recognition, but a little bit never hurts.

Allowing your employees time off to volunteer helps build communities and connections. If volunteerism is part of your corporate culture, consider these ways you can recognize and celebrate your employees who volunteer.

Combine it with other initiatives

Working toward other company goals through volunteer recognition can double the impact. SeeKing HR, a human resource consulting firm, encourages employees and families to participate in 5K walk/runs for causes that are important to them, says Leanne King, president.

“We recognize and appreciate employee volunteers in a unique way that blends their personal passion with our goal of a healthy workforce,” she says. “SeeKing HR will sponsor a team of 10 people (including family members) each time they participate.” The results, King says, is a company that gives back to the community, employees supporting the cause of their choice, and a reinforced message of a healthy lifestyle.

Make sure leaders know about it

Volunteers aren’t usually in it for the recognition, but it’s important to let them know you’ve seen their efforts anyway. Use your Intranet or internal bulletin board to let employees know what their co-workers are doing.

“This is a great place to celebrate and highlight these activities,” says Jacob Shriar, growth manager at Officevibe, which develops employee engagement software. Also ensure the leaders at your company are involved. “Just the fact that the recognition is coming from them makes it that much more powerful.”

Share ideas with each other

Peer recognition and sharing is also important. Marilyn McCawley, HR manager for World Travel Holdings, says her organization is a corporate sponsor of Make-a-Wish, and also gives each employee one paid day per year to volunteer at an organization of their choice.

“We have a blog featured on our company intranet called ‘I give back by...,” she says. “This blog highlights the stories and photos shared by employees about their volunteer experience, and enables employees to post comments and get ideas about volunteer opportunities.”

Mix it up

Using a variety of recognition techniques can also be effective. Bonnie Stover is the director of volunteer services at FrontPorch. "Each community has one big celebration throughout the year in honor of its volunteers, focusing on how we accomplish more because of the efforts of our volunteer partners,” she says.

“Sometimes volunteers are recognized on the spot, caught in the act of doing something very special.  During National Volunteer Week, Front Porch sends a gift to each volunteer at all our communities to thank them for their service and remind them that they are cherished and appreciated.”

Don’t forget the ones who volunteer for you

If you have people who volunteer to help keep your organization’s work going, be sure to recognize them as well. “Volunteers are an essential part of keeping a small business afloat and it’s important that volunteers feel appreciated, so that they will speak highly of your company and want to donate their time again in the future,” says Tiffany Gillespie, owner of  To the “T” Events and Catering.

She says volunteers get a hot meal and recognition on social media when they help with an event. “We are excited that others want to volunteer with our company and we want to show them that we are extremely grateful for their efforts to help our business grow.”

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