1. Provide Resources to Free Education
In an ideal world, all organizations would want to send their employees to leadership or continuing education seminars conducted by the best in the field. In reality, the cost makes it nearly impossible to do something of that magnitude. This often leads to only the very top performers gaining that opportunity. During hard financial times, this developmental activity is usually not funded. Instead, of waiting around for the next reasonably priced seminar, provide your employees resources to free education.
Direct your employees to iTunesU for free online education. At iTunesU your employees can choose from over 750,000 free lectures, videos, and books among thousands of subjects from leading educational and cultural institutions including Ivy League schools such as Stanford, Yale, MIT, and Oxford. Another option is Open Culture online, which directs you to videos, movies, language lessons and even provides course certifications. For a more relaxed learning experience encourage your employees to download a free audiobooks phone app that contains thousands of free books to listen from or point out relevant TED talks that relate to your organization. Make it a team activity by following up with a brown bag discussion on the course.
2. Host an Evening of Volunteer Work
It should be no surprise that helping others is one of the best forms of helping yourself. Carry this value over to your employees by encouraging volunteer work. In fact, corporate volunteer programs have been found to improve cohesion among teams, create a motivated workforce, strengthen leadership and interpersonal skills, and provide more positive attitudes towards colleagues and the employer. It also gives employees an outlet to make a difference outside of work. If this is still not enough to convince you, then read the Realized Worth blog to learn more about research findings related to corporate volunteer work and employee engagement.
You can keep your volunteer work simple such as organizing a beach or river clean-up or helping set up a local community festival. Another option is to connect the volunteer work directly to your field of work by donating professional services to non-profit organizations. Whatever you chose, the goal is to get your employees out of the office to communicate, troubleshoot, and work effectively together while making a difference in the community. This way, the organization benefits, the employee benefits, and the community benefits.
Photo credit: http://www.causecast.com/blog/bid/152993/A-Corporate-Volunteer-Program-Roadmap-in-5-Steps