Posted on 17 October 2016
Groundwork's top five tips for incorporating a super-size employee community action activity as part of a staff conference:
1) ENSURE TOP LEVEL COMMITMENT
It’s imperative that your senior management are on board with a community based activity day. There needs to be adequate time, budget and enthusiasm allocated for the activity. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be integral to your business and ideally there should be an element of strategic alignment with the project you choose – this could be your commitment to a certain locality, a particular group of beneficiaries or issue, or simply that you want all your staff to have an opportunity to try something new.
2) ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME
Anyone who has organised a party or a conference will know that these things don’t happen overnight. Likewise a super-size community activity should be given at least three months run in time to ensure adequate preparation for a fun, safe, varied, well-resourced and strategically-aligned day.
3) SET ASIDE A BUDGET
Staff conferences are expensive – lots of travel, lots of food, lots of accommodation, not to mention time employees spend away from their business. But a community activity shouldn’t be considered as a free option. The resource impact of a super-size team on a charity for one day is huge – they will probably need to bring in lots of extra staff to supervise you as well as dedicating a coordinator prior to the day. Super-sized teams need lots of equipment too as well as materials for any construction, gardening or painting tasks. The more budget you are able to set aside, the more ambitious you can be in your day.
4) CATER FOR DIFFERENT TASTES
Bear in mind that your colleagues have different preferences, abilities and experiences and motivating employees to do an activity that doesn’t interest them as part of a compulsory activity day is an uphill struggle. By ensuring that the team fully understands the charity they are supporting, has a range of tasks and is well supervised, motivation can be maximised.
5) WHAT’S THE LEGACY?
A super-sized team can achieve an incredible amount in one day but how can you ensure you leave a real legacy for the future? This is where strategic alignment and top level buy-in becomes so important. Small teams of local staff could continue to volunteer at the site on a regular basis, and other branches could partner with local arms of a national charity in their area. Alternatively, you may choose to select the site as one of your Charity Partners to allow staff to fundraise for the areas of need they identified on the day or to help pay for the maintenance of your hard work. Encourage your staff to talk to beneficiaries, volunteers and staff while they are volunteering and find other ways they could help in the future, potentially using their professional skills.
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