What does holiday giving have to do with developing your employees? Hint: Attitude, perspective, customer relations. That´s right-so much of employee training, I believe, is related in some way with a company´s attitude toward the publics it serves whether it´s the end user, distributor, media, other companies, an/or the surrounding community. Sometimes the words "social action" connote another time, maybe the sixties, but truly giving back to the community never goes out of style and what better time than the holidays to recognize the importance of people who have less?
Yes, it´s a form of public relations, but it´s also a strategy you can use to train your employees on the importance of community involvement. One of the biggest obstacles for any company is becoming known. Clearly, the more positive an image a company project the better people are going to feel when it comes to doing business with your people.
Part of growing in a career is taking on more responsibility and learning how to reach out to those outside the company. Remember, whether you´re sitting behind your desk completing a report or talking to someone on the train during your commute you´re always representing the place where you work.
Getting out and volunteering during the holiday season is a good way to help your people grow. "What does this have to do with my job?" they might say. You can reiterate what I´ve said above, but you also can talk about the different ways your company tries to reach its target market. Just because an individual doesn´t need your services doesn´t mean that he or she won´t make a recommendation on your behalf. Use this time of year to engage your staff in a way that help them apply their skills in ways that might not always be so obvious. So working at a food pantry isn´t going to get that report done faster. However, getting your employees together for an event that does some good for people who otherwise might not have the same advantages as your staff-well, it´s a good example of doing the right thing. It´s not a company retreat, but it does represent and offer an opportunity for people with different interests, talents, and skills to come together as a company and contribute something to the surrounding community.
December may not be such a great month to offer training workshops. In many parts of the country, it´s too cold to even think. And a lot of companies still close shop for that week between Christmas and New Year´s. However, employee development should never stop and what might look on the surface like just another volunteer event could very well inspire someone on staff to look at a project differently.