Evolve Your Company to a New Level
Corporate Altruism has an immeasurable positive impact on the business organism. It has nothing to do with a company giving money to charity, that has very little effect on the business, apart from helping the charity and getting some brownie points. No, what I am referring to is hands-on direct involvement by staff and managers.
It has been scientifically proven that there are numerous benefits to an individual when getting directly involved with altruistic work. In the Mental Health Foundation’s report from Mental Health Awareness Week 2012 we find many beautiful case studies and stories about what helping others does for a person (click here for a link to the report). There are also several sources backing up the benefit claims below:
- It makes you feel good!
- You feel connected.
- You feel worthy and valued.
- You view your own life from a less judgemental point of view.
- It lowers your stress levels.
- It helps clear negative energy and feelings.
As we know scaling anything up to a group level, where the group might not be in harmony, is not the easiest. However, it is completely doable. Below are some considerations to take into account before proclaiming your plan and foray into corporate altruism to your company. Make sure these are planned out and incorporated in the messaging to your staff. You need to make sure you get everybody on board from the get go. I have personally seen where numerous attempts to get an office involved has fallen flat on its face every time due to sloppy communications.
- Pick the projects through democratic means.
- Plan something on a regular basis without making it the company business.
- Set aside one work day per occasion to engage in corporate altruism (not a day when staff is off).
- Assign the person who has a particular passion for each chosen project as the project leader to organise the involvement.
- Assign wall space for telling the story of the company’s altruistic activities.
- Create an internal and external/social media communication plan.
- Stay with the programme and do not let it fall by the wayside.
Putting your eggs in several baskets
Not everybody is going to be all-in with every chosen charitable project, so you need to make sure the focus changes often, if not on every occasion. In order for each member of the company to commit fully to each project, everybody needs to know the causes they are passionate about will be chose as well. The crux is that you will have people who really don’t feel anything for any charity. You need to identify those people and just casually and privately challenge them to think of injustices they see in the world. It could be homelessness, terminal or debilitating illnesses, abuses, research into fringe subjects, etc. The main idea is to make them think in terms of who they would feel passionate about being helped and if they would like to be that person. Be careful to stay away from political and heavily religious actions as they can cause friction and have an adverse effect to your desired goals. Also, if someone does not want to participate in a particular project on religious, political or any other grounds of personal convictions, don’t force them, but allow them participate in an appropriate substitute.
Benefits to the group dynamics
Once you get your group to actively involved in the altruistic projects you can watch with pure joy how the individual as well as the group energy grows. In addition to the benefits on an individual level previously listed you will realise the benefits on a group level:
- Improved cohesiveness
- Group connectivity
- Group empathy
- Enhanced collective creativity and intuition
These projects become, in effect, team building exercises where you do not have to put an effort into create the tasks, they are simply part of the experience. The individuals will evolve, but so will your group.
The benefits to the bottom line of the business should be rather obvious at this point. However, it should also be obvious that the return on the investment is immeasurable. You not only get to experience a group dynamic that is more vibrant and alive, giving your company improved quality and productivity. Below are some further benefits:
- Fewer sick days.
- Improved mental well being.
- Increased commitment and loyalty.
- Improved customer service.
- Less conflict.
- Appreciation of the present moment.
Creating the self perpetuating evolution
To ensure the sustainability of the benefits there has to be repetition, memories and encouragement. You need to drive the continuation of these programmes and projects on a regular basis. Make sure you take charge to integrating the programme into the DNA of your company, through broad buy-in at every level. Put the achievements in front of your staff on the walls, in newsletters, in social media, etc. Making each individual proud of their participation and achievement and reinforcing all the positive impacts it has had on them will help rewire the neurological pathways to create lasting and positive change.
Oh, and someone more challenged in this life than you and everyone of the people in your company will benefit on a whole other level by what you do. Is that perhaps a reason enough to make the investment?
Also published on Medium.