A focus on helping others allows employees at all levels to build camaraderie, which a recent survey reveals is key to workplace morale.
Mutual respect, shared purpose and clear communication are all building blocks of an efficiently functioning and continually innovating team. An Accounttemps poll shows that whether employees actually like each other is critical. Fifty-seven percent of executives polled said that office friendships help on-the-job performance for employees; 63 percent of employees agreed.
The difference in degree between managers and employees is easy to interpret: managers are often more aware of the downsides of workplace friendship, such as cliques and time-wasting. But by bringing employees together around efforts that align with core organizational values, managers can foster camaraderie without encouraging the negative outcomes of workplace friendships.
Company-sponsored volunteer programs provide an excellent opportunity, especially when projects are organized outside the workplace so hierarchical boundaries are blurred and the atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and tolerant. Research from the University of Pennsylvania found that volunteering even has a positive impact on the bottom line, because shared volunteer experiences foster loyalty, job satisfaction and a better connection with the workplace.
The Points of Light Foundation, established to foster volunteerism in and outside the workplace, developed the Principles of Excellence for Workplace Volunteering to serve as guidelines for companies to build and enhance their employee volunteer programs. These principles involve three broad steps you can use to build your own program:
Taking the time to design and implement a comprehensive volunteer program pays both tangible and intangible dividends. It develops workplace camaraderie and employee engagement, builds goodwill in the community and creates a shared purpose closely tied to the organization's own principles.
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