Trends in Team Motivation: A Culture of Giving Back

Learn more about team motivation trends with gThankYou!

Volunteering together, like these State Farm employees in Houston, is a great way to build team motivation. (Photo via State Farm, Flickr)

Building a culture of giving back is one of the strongest ways to build team motivation — it’s reliable, affordable and gets results fast.

In fact, volunteerism is so important to employees that companies even field questions about it during hiring interviews, according to a Madison Nonprofit Day panel discussion in Wisconsin this week.

There’s a “millennial appetite for giving back,” said Steve Goldberg, executive director of the CUNA Mutual Foundation, the nonprofit arm of credit union insurance company CUNA Mutual Group.

A Capital Times article reporting on the panel described “a changing social attitude surrounding community service facilitated by employers.”

“It’s in our self interest,” Goldberg said of offering volunteer opportunities to employees.

He said one of the most common interview questions from potential employees is, “What do you do to give back?”

By popular demand, companies are refining employee volunteer opportunities. But a culture of giving back isn’t just a nice, “feel good” perk to attract potential employees. It’s also a strategic, meaningful way to engage and retain your existing workforce.

Read on to find out how companies are developing their volunteer programs to build team motivation, develop employee work ethic and foster strong company spirit!

Team Motivation Is About Making the Right Investment

What builds business? People. What builds people? Community.

This is the driving ethos behind a commitment to corporate responsibility programs, according to Zach Munns, vice president of operations of BeePod, a sustainable beekeeping organization based in Madison and Milwaukee.

“It’s a matter of investing in the right assets,” he said at the Madison Nonprofit Network panel.

A new generation of workers, entrepreneurs and executives are breathing new life into giving back, according to the Inc. article, “Why You Should Build a Culture of Giving Back.”

“Gone are the days when donations are all about the tax break,” writes Inc. columnist Marla Tabaka.

Companies today are “developing values-driven programs to help their philanthropic efforts grow even deeper roots,” she writes, adding that the very definition of a “culture of giving back”  is expanding to include the benefits to the greater community and the workplace community.

More hands-on volunteer activities are an important supplement to company fundraising drives because they are a meaningful opportunity for employees “to bond, share their personal values and act in unison toward a common goal,” Tabaka writes.

Individual Attention Grows Team Success

The up-and-coming generation of workers also appreciates “individual attention and personalization of volunteer opportunities,” the Madison Nonprofit Day panelists agreed.

Christina Libs, senior launch manager at Zendesk, says her company tries “to match a person to an organization” and encourage already existing connections between employees and service organizations.

John Pollard, senior director of marketing at consulting firm Nordic, said his company’s programming for giving back is all about “playing off the strengths and interests” of employees.

Play Well Together, Work Well Together

Volunteering together builds team motivation by allowing employees a breather from the daily grind. Employees have the opportunity to get fresh perspectives, see their coworkers in a new light and strengthen team skills — like listening, collaboration and finding consensus — in a new context.

“Working side-by-side in a volunteer position helps to build respect, communication, team work and sensitivity to everyone’s role in the organization,” Scott Voris, president and CEO of Chicago-based marketing firm Kelmscott Communications, tells Inc.

That’s the key to building team motivation through “giving back” activities — employees are developing skills that are directly applicable to your business. From improved customer service to more efficient communication, you can’t not afford to make an investment in your community!

Looking for more inspiration to building a culture of gratitude and giving back? Read our previous posts on gratitude case studies, and for an in-depth guide to Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude, click below to download our FREE eBook and start today!

Download our FREE eBook, "Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude" TODAY!

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