In the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it looks like employees uniting to help those in need in their community — or even thousands of miles away.
Workplace volunteerism is a powerful way to build teamwork skills, engage employees, increase generosity and make a difference. Increasingly, opportunities to engage with and give back to the community are what employees (and potential employees) expect.
People want to work for a company they can believe in, that aligns with their values.
A spirit of workplace volunteerism can only thrive in a culture of gratitude. The opposite kind of culture, where incivility and rudeness rule, takes a costly toll on employees, according to new research.
Leadership coach Tanveer Naseer believes in the benefits of expressing gratitude in the workplace, particularly as a model for more effective leadership.
Besides fueling internal motivation, gratitude is a “powerful reminder of how we need each other to succeed and thrive — that our accomplishments are not ours alone, but something to be shared and celebrated collectively,” he writes.
Best of all, it “allows us to see the best in those around us, and how they help us to do and be better.”
Next week is World Gratitude Day — Thursday, Sept. 21 — so what better time to celebrate workplace gratitude in action? We’re seeing a lot of it in the news these days as communities rally to help hurricane victims.
5 Examples of Workplace Gratitude in Action After Harvey & Irma
Following Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, workplaces and employees have demonstrated generosity in recent weeks. Here are five inspiring examples.
1. ‘Driven by the Same Spirit’
“As the rain from Hurricane Harvey’s following tropical storms begins to subside, more than 12,000 federal employees from every corner of government are helping state and local disaster response teams in Texas and Louisiana,” according to Federal News Radio.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement supporting the volunteers:
“These volunteers are driven by the same spirit that brought them into government service in the first place, and DHS welcomes any and all of our employees looking to go above and beyond the call of their routine duties in support of the life-saving and life-preserving missions on the ground in Texas and Louisiana.”
2. Ice Company Employees Donate Ice
What do hurricane victims need when they’ve lost power? Ice! With the help of local police, employees at an ice company in Boynton Beach, FL donated bags of ice to residents of a low-income neighborhood hit hard by Hurricane Irma.
3. Taking Care of the Helpers
Town government workers in Palm Beach, FL are working around the clock to help the town recover from Hurricane Irma. The town is showing them gratitude for their above-and-beyond service, as the Palm Beach Daily News reports:
To take good care of those employees, the town has set up a food station at the Palm Beach Recreation Center where they can get three hot meals a day, along with plenty of cold water, lemonade and soda. To-go plates are there for police and firefighters who can’t stay to eat.
“We’re making sure the employees doing recovery are fed and hydrated so they can keep moving,” [Deputy Town Manager Jay] Boodheshwar said. …
Mayor Gail Coniglio and Councilwoman Danielle Moore have been there every day, Coniglio said, “to thank the employees for their extraordinary dedication to get the island back up and running.”
4. Restaurant Industry Gives Aid to Harvey Victims
The trade magazine Fast Casual reports on the restaurant industry’s role in Hurricane Harvey recovery. It published a followup article with even more examples of how restaurants and their employees are helping.
Just one example is Dickey’s Barbecue Pit:
…Dickey’s Barbecue Pit locations will accept donations through Dickey’s charitable foundation Barbecue, Boots & Badges. Along with in-store donations, the Dickey’s Home Office will collect donations from all employees. Roland Dickey Jr. and Laura Rea Dickey will personally match up to $25,000, according to a company press release.
“We can and will respond the best we can as a brand and a family to help all folks affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said CEO Laura Rea Dickey.
Dallas-based Dickey’s will also host a blood drive with Carter BloodCare from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 8 at the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit location on Wycliff Avenue in Dallas. with all donations going to Houston area hospitals., and the unit will offer $2 pulled-pork sandwiches to all who participate in the drive.
Lastly, Dickey’s is partnering with national relief organizations to send available Home Office employees to Houston to help with rebuild the city.
5. Small Businesses Provide Helping Hands and ‘Precious Sense of Normality’
The Christian Science Monitor reports on how small businesses in hurricane-hit areas are vital to recovery efforts.
“Small businesses are helping lead the city’s recovery. Even as they deal with their own losses, they are providing not only helping hands in the rebuilding effort, but a precious sense of normality to communities still reeling from the 25 trillion gallons of water just poured on their heads,” the Monitor’s Henry Gass writes.
Paper Co. Cafe in Houston is one small business Gass mentions:
This week … Paper Co.’s two top chefs haven’t been there. They’ve been in a church parking lot 12 miles away, cooking breakfast and dinner for the streams of volunteers who gather there before and after dispersing throughout the city to help gut flooded-out homes.
“People are just doing what they know how to do,” says Trevor Little, Paper Co.’s sous chef. “We’re cooks, so we’re cooking.”
Simply being open can be an invaluable benefit for shaken Houstonians these days. Small businesses re-opening is “good for the psyche,” says David Ramos, the head chef at Paper Co.
Put Your Workplace Gratitude in Action!
Want to put your workplace gratitude in action by helping in hurricane recovery efforts? NPR has an exhaustive list of ideas for how to help hurricane victims, even from afar — including blood donation, food drives, fundraisers and more.
For inspiration on building workplace gratitude, download our free eBook, “Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude.” It’s full of practical learning that you can start putting to use today. Learn from positive psychology and leadership experts how to build and sustain a workplace culture of gratitude that attracts employees and customers.
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