It is now 2010…  I look back on 2009 and cannot believe what had to happen for our firm to come out without having to lay off anybody.  There is truth that many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) grew in 2009 due to outsourcing, but many stayed flat and did all hey could to stay in the black.  We stayed flat- mostly because we chose to invest in our business with items like a building and a cloud network and training systems.  I digress…  My point is that we as a company seem to have weathered part of the greatest economic turn down in a lifetime without losing anybody and gaining infrastructure for a better work place.  One word-  BLESSED.  The point here is-  companies who have made it into 2010 are fortunate and smart.  Some would argue they have an obligation to consider community involvement.

Shifting gears to my next point –

Time Magazine presented an article on Gen Y workers titled, What Gen Y Really Wants.  The article discusses that there are 85 million baby-boomers in the American Workforce.  Most of these folks will retire in the next 5 to 10 years depending on our stock market recovery.  “Now along come the 76 million members of Generation Y. For these new 20-something workers, the line between work and home doesn’t really exist. They just want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are, (Time, 2007).”  Starting to see where I am going here?

Leadership in Volunteerism

Lead by Example

Gen Y employees have been raised in a world where homework and school and home and extracurricular activities are all inter-mingled.  Email and remote access and smart phones have blurred the line between where they work and when they relax.  Most of this generation is looking for a place to make an impact and find meaning.  You want to keep this workforce happy and make your company a place they WANT to work.  I discussed the topics of keeping employees through 2010 in a great management article from December 2009.

2007 Survey of Gen Y Workers states that 68% prefer to work where there is a volunteer program.  71% of respondents believe that companies should spend time to help match outside interests of employees to volunteer programs that the business can support.

What do both of my points mean when looking at them together?

  • Many companies have been able to weather the economy and are seeing new opportunities for success in 2010.
  • The new generation of workers in America is looking for more work life balance and a chance to volunteer through work

Put these items together and volunteerism should be considered a core business objective for the foreseeable future.

I feel strongly that companies should adopt volunteer programs.  It is important for a business to understand a couple of key points.  Leadership begins by example and volunteer project must be adopted at the highest levels and for the right reasons. Company executives and owners should take the time to understand what their employees want to help with and then reach out to find opportunities to get their firm involved.

Here are some quick take aways on volunteerism at work:

  • Leaders should consider  building their company with values that belong to the generation that will inherit the firm (Gen Y).
  • Businesses should take the time to publicly acknowledge how blessed they have been to have survived 2008/2009 and reach out to the community.
  • Volunteer work provides a level playing field or all employees to interact
  • Choose projects that interest the employees and community
  • Do not push volunteer efforts or chose opportunities based on public relations  or personal gain
  • Find advocates in the workforce and create a committee
  • Give because it is the right thing to do!
  • Find a place to get ideas!  Volunteer opportunities in Houston

Have you had an opportunity to be involved?  What do you think is a good project to help get a volunteer program off the ground?  Leave your comments.

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