An international leadership expert has urged brokerages to participate in volunteering days, saying the benefits are three-fold – at the very least.
“Firstly, one of the key benefits is around bonding and team dynamics,” says Michelle Gibbings (pictured), founder and managing director of Change Meridian.
“When you volunteer together, you’re operating in a different environment, so you get to see people in a different context, and you get to see them applying different skills in a different way.”
According to Gibbings, this break from the norm helps build a sense of camaraderie because everyone’s working on something that has purpose but is also fun and engaging.
The increased camaraderie helps forge stronger bonds across the business which Gibbings says can translate to improved customer outcomes as teams begin to work better together.
Volunteering as an organisation also benefits the business as it often boosts the firm’s brand and improves its reputation within the wider community.
“There are a lot of organisations these days which have volunteer days as part of their reputation building and their connection back into the community,” Gibbings tells Insurance Business. “Clients and consumers like the idea that they’re working with an organisation which is giving back to the community and has their best interests at heart.”
Staff and prospective employees are by no means exempt from this and Gibbings says brokerages which get behind volunteer activities are likely to attract better talent – and hold on to them.
“There’s a lot of research that supports the argument that people like working for organisations that do good things and are seen as community-minded,” she says. “So, if you have volunteering days as a way of connecting with your team, that also helps build buy-in to the team, it helps to attract talent and it helps to retain talent.”
There also wellbeing benefits for those who take part, says Gibbings.
“If you take a day out of the office and you feel like you’re doing some good, you feel like you’re giving something back to the community, that’s good for your health and wellbeing,” she says. “If you’re working in an environment that’s hectic, that’s stressful, where there’s a lot going on - having some time out of the office and doing something that’s about other people, and not about you, can be really good for you.”