Once the excuse that there is “no time” for pursuing this principle and the mental process moves from “we should do this” to “we will do this”, the next logical question is, “what should we do?” The answer is simple; it doesn’t really matter. Potential activities are almost limitless. Employees who need to formulate the program will quickly develop a list of potential candidate activities. Get out of their way and let them decide. However, to begin the program, provide them with a few simple guidelines as listed below:
- Identify activities that can involve individuals from across the entire spectrum of skill sets to appeal to the broadest audience.
- Identify team activities as opposed to individual contributor activities to help build a company-wide caring culture that crosses all levels and disciplines.
- Identify activities that allow the group to maintain its identity (as opposed to activities such as group participation in a 5,000 person walk or run).
- Identify activities that can be organized and completed in short order to take advantage of the initial enthusiasm that will be generated with the announcement of the program.
- Clearly identify how success will be measured to help ensure that everyone’s expectations are set accordingly.
- Identify an initial opportunity that does not require a long-term commitment. It may turn out that once completed, the team decides to move on to other activities for any number of reasons.
- Carefully match the activity’s requirements to the available and likely resources.
- Identify activities that can have a lasting effect or memory on the participants. (As an opposite example, asking everyone to drop off some canned goods at the office is a noble cause but does not require much thought or build a long-term memory.)
- Identify activities that allow varying degrees of participation to accommodate individuals with other commitments that want to participate but may be spread too thin.
- Identify a method, time, and place to acknowledge employee participation and say thank you. Many will feel that their participation was enough but a special thank you is always well received.
Unfortunately, there are so many noble and worthwhile activities that could be undertaken; it is easy to endlessly discuss alternatives rather than making a decision and selecting one. The decision will not become easier over time. In fact, as individuals become emotionally attached to their preference, it may be difficult to gain consensus. Make sure the team is aware of this naturally occurring situation. Make a decision and move on. Make it fun. Once started, the internal feelings of all participants will generate the momentum to keep it moving forward. Caring for others is infectious, give individuals the opportunity.