The power of volunteering to breathe life into corporate values

How does your business build workplace culture? Do your corporate values stay laminated to the kitchen wall, or do your employees live and breathe them? If it’s the latter, how did you make that happen?

PaySmart has faced the challenge of bringing our own values to life. During 2015 we went through an extensive exercise to redefine our corporate values and came up with HEART:

  • Honesty
  • Enjoyment
  • Accountability
  • Responsibility
  • Teamwork

These values have become an integral part of our work plans and employee review processes, as well as our recruitment policies.

But it’s our Outreach Program—the way we channel our efforts in corporate social responsibility—that’s really brought these values to life.

In 2015, PaySmart established an organising committee to develop and drive an Outreach Program. And to our great delight, our staff have more than risen to the occasion. We’ve kept our interests wide to keep the Program interesting and to appeal to a variety of causes our staff are passionate about.

In the space of less than a year, we’ve done a ‘World’s Greatest Shave’, a breast cancer breakfast, a St Vinnie’s clothes drive, two blood drives for the Red Cross, a ‘wear your footy colours day’ to raise money for the Cancer Council, and two Queensland Food Bank drives.

As a relatively small business we don’t have the capacity to raise big volumes of money…but together as a team, we’re acting locally and with heart and we’re making a difference to people’s lives. And when you do that together as a corporate team, it feels great and really does enable us all to live our corporate values through these efforts.

The benefits cut both ways
Research shows there are benefits to both employees and employers of corporate volunteering efforts. It can increase staff retention and engagement and help build stronger culture, and increasingly, younger employees are seeking out workplaces that take corporate social responsibility seriously. But the benefits are also widely realised by individuals. Volunteering Australia’s recent research reveal that 93% of volunteers surveyed saw positive changes as a result of their volunteering efforts (appreciated by community, improved wellbeing of others, improved sense of place in the world).

From where we sit, when managed well, corporate volunteering is a win-win-win—for the employer, the employee and the benefiting organisation.

Has your organisation benefited from your volunteering program or have you brought your corporate values to life in other ways? We’d love to hear what you think.