TA L E N T D I A R I E S Volunteering: a tool for engagement EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERING APPEALS TO THE FIERCELY COMPETITIVE, YET SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS GEN Y, WRITES SY SIDDIQUI

Social volunteering is proving to be a powerful tool to engage employees, especially young executives. Companies can improve employee well-being and motivation significantly if they create effective platforms that enable employees to offer their time and talents for a social cause. 
So far, as HR professionals, we consider factors like job content flexibility, learning/exposure, empowerment/delegation, competitive compensation/career development as routes to engage and motivate employees.These remain important and require continued focus. But in addition to that, we must realise that members of Gen Y are looking to make a positive and meaningful contributionbeyond the workplace.They are perturbed by the ills they see around them, including unequal opportunity and gaps in the social structure of our country. 
We must celebrate this combination of individual quest for growth, and sensitivity for the larger social context. Not only in India, but also the youth across the world is looking for solutions that can balance economic prosperity with environmental protection and social inclusion. In thissearch, one of the things they have done is stepped forward, by themselves, to try and make a difference. 
The design/content of an employee volunteering programme is best decided byeach organisation and its people, according to their context. In my experience, programmes that are designed around a clear objective or project, work better.Volunteers get a sense of satisfaction on completion.The team spiritduring such projects, as people pool talents and efforts to achieve goals, is also tremendous. 
If we truly want to bond with our people and create a climate of trust and openness, a few forums are more powerful than working together on a social programme. Here, we are free of the baggage of structure and hierarchy, andjointly share the joy that comes from creating something meaningful beyond our own self.

 Last but not the least, it will also lead to the strengthening of the corporate governance perspective. In today’s fastchanging business environment dominated by complexities and intense competition, the HR function should also explore some of these unchartered territories in involving, respecting and engaging the Gen Y potential as in the longer run, it would be a prudent business initiative as well as a larger responsibility for corporates beyond business. 

 

Source: Times Ascent

Date: 27th November 2013

 

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