Corporate volunteerism part of the holy month’s spirit of generosity
Volunteerism, both on a personal and corporate level, is strong in the UAE – and never more so than during Ramadan, as we have seen over the course of the past month. Inspired by the values of solidarity and generosity that the holy month embodies, it is the ideal time for colleagues to come together in support of a common cause, or common causes that benefit the community.
There is more to corporate volunteerism, however, than contributing to making the society we live in a better place; it nurtures connectivity, encourages bonding between colleagues, and builds a strong sense of esprit de corps across the wider community. Corporate giving during the holy month should serve as a benchmark, as the morality of Ramadan can be used to inspire corporate volunteering, stronger corporate culture and community bonding throughout the year.
Our leadership leads by example, with their generosity setting the precedent for what can be done to help those around us. The altruistic nature of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed, the late President of the UAE, is an attitude that has been adopted by generations of Emiratis and the expatriates who call our country home – and this is a very positive sign for the continuation of the benevolent spirit of the UAE.
What is especially encouraging is the prevalence of volunteerism among the younger members of our society. In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, 50 per cent of volunteers were aged 20-29, and 90 per cent of all volunteers surveyed considered voluntary work to be very important.
This is good news for our society, and good news for corporations, too, given the number of eager young Emiratis who are entering the workforce. They are keen to follow in the footsteps of the nation’s leaders, by doing good for their community – and a corporate volunteerism programme is the ideal option for companies to channel this enthusiasm.
Corporate volunteering is beneficial on multiple levels; it creates solid bonds between co-workers, supports worthwhile societal causes, enhances the corporation’s image and develops a community-wide affinity for the brand. And, as an additional benefit, it establishes a company as a more desirable place to work. According to a survey by Bayt.com, 76.8 per cent of people from around the region want to work for a company that is socially responsible. As a further incentive for corporate volunteerism, the same survey states that 88 per cent of consumers favour products and services from a socially responsible company.
In terms of the benefits a company enjoys from corporate volunteerism, I believe there are three key aspects. The first of these is improved employee engagement, which is good for company morale and motivates employees to contribute more by being more productive.
The second is enhanced attractiveness as an employee, especially among the younger generation. Emirati youth are very switched on when it comes to doing their part to help their brothers and sisters in the community, and they want to work for companies that will allow them to contribute.
Last, but by no means least, there is the increased visibility of the company brand, and the association of the brand with good deeds – something that is especially important at a time when sustainability is at the forefront of public awareness. We all want to do things that will support and benefit the world we live in, and as society becomes more conscious of the need for sustainability, we are more likely to choose the products and services that will allow us to passively give back by supporting a company that contributes to society.
From where I stand, there are no negatives to developing a culture of corporate volunteerism. There is no time like the present to embark upon a volunteerism project, given the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan. Everyone has something to give; charitable acts can be in the form of giving time, giving money, providing help for the needy, or simply performing good deeds … something that we are all capable of doing in some capacity, every day.
Hala Badri is the executive vice president, brand and communications, at du
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Updated: July 24, 2014 04:00 AM