Employee volunteering – what are the benefits, and who benefits?

Employee volunteering – what are the benefits, and who benefits?

International Volunteer Day is celebrated on December 5 each year, but why should a business firm advocate volunteering? This is a great opportunity for us to share with you why having our employees volunteer for the benefit of the community is so important to us.

International Volunteer Day is celebrated on December 5 each year, but why should a business firm advocate volunteering? This is a great opportunity for us to share with you why having our employees volunteer for the benefit of the community is so important to us.

 

In Israel, Strauss Group has diverse operations and business units. Each unit is liaised with a social partner (a nonprofit or social organization) and takes part in community service together with that partner on a continuous basis all year round. Some units are involved in one-time volunteer projects each quarter, while others are active weekly, with a small group of employees volunteering each week. In addition, every year we hold our CSR Week, CARE (Community, Activity, Responsibility to Engage), when all employees of the Company volunteer for a full day to work on social projects designed to benefit the community.

 

In the past year, Strauss’s employees clocked up more than 28,880 hours of volunteer service all over Israel. These are hours in which Strauss says to its people, for the next few hours put your jobs aside and go out and volunteer! It’s no less important.

So why is it so important then?

 

First of all, because of the community impact.

 

Besides our business goals, there are social matters to which we, as a company, are committed, and we work to promote them. The subjects that are our top social priorities are a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet and equal employment opportunity, so a substantial part of our volunteer program focuses on these spheres.

 

Furthermore, as an organization that operates in a number of geographical hubs in Israel, mainly in the country’s peripheries, we want to be fully woven into the fabric of life in the area, to help bolster the local economy and community, and to develop partnerships as part of the ecosystem in which we are active. Consequently, a great deal of what we do is done together with partners that are active in the locations surrounding the Company’s different sites.

 

The second reason is the effect on us as a company.

 

To be a successful company today, business firms are required to engage in a broad spectrum of activities that are mindful of society and of the world outside of its business goals. Volunteering enables our people to initiate, lead, diversify their work routines, express different skills and capabilities, be appreciated, and be a part of activities that are valuable and rewarding. All of these enhance team spirit and our feelings of sharing an emotional bond with our workplace.

 

Through social engagement, we also learn new skills, thus expanding our skill set. Every employee can contribute to his or her own personal development through volunteer activities in which he or she is required to use skills that are not always expressed in our everyday work. For example, when organizing a Hanukkah candle lighting event, we have an opportunity to express our acting talent in a play we perform, to surprise people with our talent for playing the guitar or our ability to befriend and connect with children or the elderly.

 

Volunteering also helps us break away from our professional roles, explore new dynamics and roles as team members, get to know each other and build cohesion as a unit.

 

We then bring all of this back to the office later, and it has a direct, positive effect on our professional work.

Reason number three – the effect on us as individuals and as human beings

 

Life in the modern world is intense, we work long hours, and we work hard. At the same time, most of us are also invested in building a family and a personal relationship, and in the midst of all of this, we also make an effort to maintain our social relationships and friendships and to enjoy life as much as possible. Many of us live in constant hope for a 25th hour in our day. There are so many social issues we care about, and we would like to do more and to influence our environment, but our routines are so busy that even the thought of adding volunteering on top of everything else seems impossible.

 

Volunteering as part of one’s job is often the only possibility we have to be active and involved citizens, to be part of a social mission, to create meaningful relationships that contribute to the community and to others around us.

 

When we provide our employees with the possibility and infrastructure for volunteering, we contribute to creating a social stratum that is more aware, more involved. We enable our employees to be more complete, more engaged, happier.

 

One can debate which of these reasons is the most important or the most relevant to employee volunteering, but the truth is that this is unnecessary. No matter what motivates you to volunteer, we will benefit from the triple effect of volunteering and will benefit from the effects on our employees as individuals, on us as a company, on our community, and on Israeli society as a whole.

 

Read more about our social engagement and community activities in our Annual Sustainability Report.