Helen Ives: Why charity is HR’s secret weapon

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The best people are passionate people. People who are passionate about different things in their lives tend to also bring their passion to the workplace, and as a result, they care about the work that they do.

Many people find passion in charity work. From volunteering at a local soup kitchen to donating to research for a disease affecting a loved one, there are countless ways that people take part in “doing good” for others. And because these causes are usually very close to heart, taking an interest and supporting your people in their charity endeavours is an important way to increase engagement and create a sense of community in the workplace.

Offer your team community days, giving them the chance to give back to the area in which they live and work. Activities such as; gardening at hospices, interviewing children at schools to prepare them for their future, school dragons den and entrepreneurial days, are great initiatives to bring everyone together.

While many companies offer their people the option to use several workdays out of the year to engage in charity work, there are other ways to encourage and support charity work that can yield greater results. Organising events and hosting fundraisers is a great way to support your peoples’ passions and also enables you to create new relationships externally, attract new talent and new customers. All parties win in this scenario.

Supporting your peoples’ charities and passions can come in many different forms. One of the easiest yet most effective ways is to encourage team to organise charity events themselves, ensuring they know they’ll receive support from the company. When your team knows that they have the support they need to accomplish something great, you’d be surprised at how far they go for a cause. Even just offering an outlet to promote their cause internally is a great way to boost morale and increase engagement within a company.

Another great option is to champion the cause yourself. Taking on a charity event as a company-wide initiative reinforces corporate values, and demonstrates that the company is about more than just revenue. On top of that, bringing this type of charity to the workplace gives your people a sense of satisfaction in the work that they do, and they can leave work at the end of the day with the pride of doing good.

The best way to start is to find out what is important to your people and put the power and decision-making in their hands. It would be impossible to support all the different causes championed by your team, particularly with larger companies. But that shouldn’t discourage you from diving in and finding the right cause.

The culture at Peer1 is somewhat special. Our ‘Peers’ are extremely passionate about supporting and getting involved with all of our different causes. To date we have raised almost £7,000 for various charities including; the Lullaby Trust, Rowans Hospice, Kidney Research, Cystic Fibrosis, British Heart Foundation and Prostate Cancer. Fundraising events include The Three Peaks Challenge, Skydiving, 100 mile cycle ride, Cycle around the Isle of Wight.

By making the fundraising events as challenging as possible, not only are you making it possible to gain as much sponsorship as you can but you’re also ensuring that your team walk away with a sense of pride. Be inspired by your team and get involved – you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when everyone works together.

 Helen Ives, Director of People, Peer 1 Hosting 

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