The key to boosting staff morale can start with charity The key to boosting staff morale can start with charity

Here, Simon Joyce, managing director of Anchor Vans, highlights the benefits charity and team bonding can give to staff morale.

Can giving to charity help boost your staff morale?

Can charities help boost your staff morale?

There’s a lot to be said for a contented and motivated workforce. In terms of productivity and staff retention, commitment is shown to be of key importance, and it is easy to understand why. What’s not so easy is establishing it in the first place.

Facilities, pay and working hours, among many factors, all count towards the way a worker feels about their job and also their employer. A happy relationship should ultimately equate to a lasting relationship. Surely it’s not that difficult to achieve a working environment that promotes a happy team?

Employee perks such as healthcare, pension plans and company cars are commonplace these days, with free meals and holiday incentives popping up more and more frequently. Such benefits are attractive initially and work for enticing new talent, but studies show that employee engagement really does come from deeper within.

Joe Wiggens, trends analyst at Glassdoor Economic Research says, ‘While benefits and perks are a great way to get employees interested in a company, they’re not among the leading factors that keep employees satisfied on the job long-term.’

According to Glassdoor, factors such as culture, values and leadership are the most important in creating employee satisfaction, and employee satisfaction means long-term staff retention.

So how about teambuilding?

This is a good one. We’ve all rolled our eyes at the prospect of the next teambuilding exercise, only to actually (quietly) rather enjoy it.

I’m not talking about a David Brent style fiasco. But when executed well, a team building exercise can be a powerful tool for opening up communication channels, problem solving and conflict resolution.

With the ongoing rise in mass charity events, we’ve seen a natural transition from traditional teambuilding activities to fundraising activities inside (or outside) the workplace. Event ticketing platform Eventbrite reports a 700 per cent increase in the number of fundraising events in the last ten years.

Charity

We have a long history of charitable giving in the UK, and the success of Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games hosted in London is widely thought to have inspired the nation to get active. Alongside the flourishing popularity of major events such as the London Marathon, the British Heart Foundation’s London to Brighton Bike Ride and Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life we now have a plethora of events in which to immerse ourselves.

Taking part in charitable giving is a worthy marketing tool for any business. It opens up networking opportunities, promotes an ethical reputation and increases presence within the community. But aside from the promotional aspect, the inclusion of charitable giving within the working environment is a useful means for building staff morale.

No matter your business type or environment, there is a charity event to suit any form of workplace. Whether it be a coffee and cake morning in the office or persuading a team to take on the latest obstacle run, the process of planning, effort and achievement brings people together to work towards a target unrelated to day-to-day business, and importantly for the benefit of others.

Helping others

Recent studies have shown that doing good deeds for others is nourishing for the soul. They suggest that the so-called ‘helper’s high’ has a real and positive effect on the human body and some researchers believe that the act of helping others may actually affect our health and even longevity.

Stephen G. Post, founding director of the Centre for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University in New York, headed up a range of studies investigating altruism, compassion, generosity and kindness. Post recently published a paper discussing the biological underpinnings of stress and how altruism can be the antidote.

It is understood that altruism, defined as the practice of putting other’s needs before our own, can reduce stress whilst improving mood, self-esteem and happiness.

Using charitable giving to promote the feel good factor within the working environment can only be of benefit. The good feeling will filter throughout the hierarchy of staff, building confidence, morale and creating a bond – therefore building a positive community at work.

Business aspect

And it doesn’t have to stop inside the business. It’s a great idea to get suppliers and customers involved in charity events too, thus building upon and strengthening those important external relationships.

Over the years in our business we have raised money for charities using many different formats: bike rides along the canal, cake sales and running sweepstake competitions on anything and everything.

Recently, we put together a team to take on the notoriously arduous Tough Mudder at Henley on Thames. Fourteen members of staff, all at varying levels of fitness endured three cold, wet, muddy hours running up and down steep hills and navigating intimidating obstacles, all in the name of Prostate Cancer UK.

We chose our charity for reasons relating to family and friends of the business, and the connection to our cause brought our fundraising the crucial personal edge. We called upon a main supplier for entry fees and agreed the business would match fund monies raised.

Online fundraising providers such as JustGiving and GoFundMe make collecting the cash straightforward. Gone are the painstaking days of sponsorship forms, and wincingly revisiting sponsors with a hand out. Donations are now made within seconds and even via text message, it really couldn’t be easier.

Tough Mudder is a team event and our whole crew felt every inch of pain together, working with each other to combat the obstacles and high-fiving throughout. As challenging as it was, and despite the 10,000 volt Electroshock Therapy finale, everybody finished with a smile and a real feeling of triumph.

I enjoy seeing the camaraderie during events and the friendly (but serious) competition, the workplace banter during the build-up and the sense of achievement among everyone afterwards.

The buzz of participating in an event, no matter how big or small, and raising money for charity is infectious, people want to get involved and everyone enjoys that feeling that they are making a real difference. We do it for the ‘feel good’.

Simon Joyce is managing director of Anchor Vans.

Further reading on staff morale

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