It isn’t just the endless TV re-runs of Scrooged pricking the corporate conscience that makes Christmas the optimum time for charitable giving – although many companies actively seek out opportunities to demonstrate corporate responsibility throughout the year, Christmas really is the time which really brings out the best in businesses, and their employees.
So, as well as setting aside some funds for an employee event to celebrate the festive season, Christmas could also offer your company the chance to spend some of the events budget on the gift of giving for the wider community. What’s more, by incorporating a little corporate social responsibility into a Christmas team event, you’ll be promoting additional goodwill to your employees, something which is certainly relevant to the budget and the time of year!
Making sense of corporate social responsibility
But why is corporate social responsibility important? At its most basic, corporate social responsibility involves the conducting of business in an ethical way which recognises the impact of the business (activities, production, location etc) at social, economical and environmental levels, and locally, nationally or even internationally.
As such, it is something which is not only important but highly relevant to all businesses, big or small. Demonstrating sound practices in corporate social responsibility openly and transparently – including sharing it with both staff and customers – goes a long way towards building a sound business reputation and trust in the company or brand.
Of course, corporate social responsibility within the business itself can take many forms, for example: such as through Fair Trading, ethical sourcing of components or carbon-neutral manufacturing, but many businesses fall short of demonstrating recognition of their social responsibility, particularly within the local community. Supporting a local charity as part of a corporate event is another way to share the responsibility and allow both employees (and possibly clients) to be involved in the company’s local area and some of the ‘greater good’ that the company is doing.
The purpose of charitable acts is of course to support a cause, whether this is through raising funds for, or raising awareness of, the cause itself. However, when supporting a charity at a business level, there are plenty of additional benefits to all of those involved:
- Team building: Nothing brings even the most disparate of teams together like a charity event and including work teams into a Christmas event offers a real chance for teams to bond as individuals, explore their own strengths and weaknesses on an ‘alternative’ task and is a great exercise in working together for a common goal which actually supports someone else.
- Publicity and PR: Being involved with the charity sector is excellent for public relations and demonstrates dedication to local community, regional, national and international issues or concerns. Any publicity and marketing for the event also particularly benefits charities by raising public awareness of their existence, the work they do and the support that they offer. This is often of most benefit to small charities which cannot afford to pay for publicity themselves.
- Employee retention: Loyalty, value and worth are all qualities which employees need to feel from the management, in order to pride themselves on their role in the company and the work they undertake. Offering employees the chance to demonstrate their worth by getting involved in something fun and giving (on work’s time) is a great way to bring staff together and help them to recognise how much the company values the work they do, in the context of valuing and supporting a charity or good cause. The goodwill generated from this kind of event can increase employee satisfaction and the potential for employees to stay with the company in the longer term.
- Communication: Working together on a group task, and in support of a charity, is a great way to break down communication barriers and enhance specific skills, such as participation, instruction giving and following. For teams which mostly work virtually, physically working together can establish an additional communication bond and allow participants the opportunity to experience new ways of working and a greater understanding of each other’s’ skills and strengths.
- Another goal, another role: One of the key things about plopping the team into a completely different activity with an alternative, neutral goal in mind (ie: the charity or the event task rather than the business) is that everyone gets the chance to take on a different role. Those who would normally lead the team can contribute to the performance from within the team, whilst another person can take a role in organisation and delegation of tasks. This is training at its most alternative and fun, which also offers plenty of scope for follow-up in appraisal.
Of course, it’s all very well seeing what can be achieved from demonstrating a bit of corporate social responsibility at Christmas, but what kind of events could your company put on to help achieve this?
Santa fun run
Paying for employees to take part in a charity Santa run (including the fees and the paid time off to participate) can be great for morale, as well as fitness. Supporting staff with a training schedule and even group sessions from a personal trainer can demonstrate your investment in their success (and health) and can also help to revive stalling production and employee motivation, as well as raise cash for charity.
Hosting a Christmas bake-off is a great way to get teams working together creatively and in one of the most trending ways currently. Bakers from all levels of business are mixed together to face the same challenges as the candidates from the popular BBC show, including Masterclass and technical tasks. As well as the fun of participation and treat-based production, sessions end with the bakers choosing to sell off the baked goodies, donate them to a local charity or ensure they are well received as birthday cakes for a needy family, as organised by Free Cakes UK.
Team building and charitable giving combine with the challenge of putting together high quality bikes, which can then be donated to the team or company’s chosen charity. The team don’t need to be engineers, just willing and up for the challenge of acquiring the parts and materials before all working together to build a bike for charity. For additional fun, competing teams can be pitched against each other to finish first and then pass-on the know-how to other teams before everyone passes on the bikes to the chosen recipients.
Charity Treasure Hunting
There isn’t much which is more festive than London’s Christmas lights and Team Tactics offers the opportunity to complete this challenge against the seasonal sights of London’s city scenery. Charity treasure hunts involve a style modelled on the frantic searches of The Apprentice, with plenty of chances for teams to hone skills and share a great day out, all whilst raising funds for charity.
Whatever your corporate Christmas calendar holds, extending the events budget to include something completely different like a charity event can be a great way to demonstrate your social awareness and thank your teams – and local charities – for all their hard work throughout the year.
Guest Blog from Team Tactics Ltd