Culture is a key part of driving success, and a year-and-a-half of working from home has severely impacted workplace culture and the associated relationship capital. Because of this, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking lately about how we can rebuild relationships after such a long time apart, re-establish a commitment to the organization and sense of accountability, while also supporting our teams through another hard winter.
Relationships are key to culture
The organization I lead, CanadaHelps, is a public foundation that operates as a technology company. This unusual combination leads to a unique and special culture. We emphasize transparency and feedback, openness and respect, and collaboration. Relationships are a key piece of this culture and these are built through conversations and cross-team interactions that aren’t weighed down by hierarchies and bureaucracy. However, maintaining these relationships over the last eighteen months has been a challenge. I’ve called every single staff member twice to check in because we are missing out on those casual opportunities to chat and observe behaviour. We also have virtual coffee meetings between individual staff, and all staff town halls for information sharing and connection.
Another way many businesses are looking to engage their staff is through rewards-based appreciation. We’ve all heard about the “Great Resignation” at this point — referring to widespread turnover across industries — so now is the time to focus on retention. Because of our distance from each other, being intentional in acknowledging contributions and saying thanks is critical for retention and productivity. Importantly, this is an opportunity to reinforce the behaviours you want to see.
Charity Gift Cards check all the boxes for businesses looking for a way to show staff appreciation in our socially distanced reality. As a gift that can be fulfilled electronically, it can be easily delivered regardless of the recipient’s location. Charity Gift Cards can be applied to any charity or cause of the recipient’s choosing, are easily personalized, and can be sent to anyone, anywhere, any time. Plus, if a recipient needs help choosing where to direct their gift card funds, they can use this gift guide to help them decide where to donate.
From a culture building point of view, a charitable reward shows staff you value them but also the broader community. They also enable a much broader diversity of choice and interests. Unlike making a donation to the charity of your organization’s choice/leadership’s choice, which might not align with your employee’s preferences, this sort of gift empowers your staff to choose and support what matters most to them. What’s more, after a year and a half where peoples’ home and work lives were more connected than ever, demonstrating a commitment to the communities in which you operate and your employees live, and respecting and enabling the diversity and individuality within your organization can be powerful.
The many benefits of gift cards
Charity Gift Cards can also replace or complement traditional holiday office parties, year-end celebrations, or perishable gift baskets, and they can also be a great CSR opportunity, or partner gift for businesses. Gift Cards can be purchased individually, in small batches as needed, or as a bulk purchase.
Rewards and other perks can be a useful retention tool — which is critical in our current time where staff across industries are making job switches — when used in conjunction with broader commitments to a healthy workplace culture in which employees feel valued and engaged with their work. As business leaders, we have the opportunity to lead our staff and organizations out of the disruption caused by the pandemic, using it as an opportunity to embrace the changes and become stronger and more agile for the future.
Fast Facts on Canada’s Charitable Sector:
- Canada’s charitable sector contributes 8.5% to the country’s GDP, which is estimated to be approximately $169 billion.
- Most Canadian charities are small. 79% of charities in Canada make less than $500,000 in revenue.
- Recently reported by Imagine Canada, 34% of Canadian charities are experiencing demand for programs and services rise faster than organizational capacity.
- According to a recent survey conducted by CanadaHelps examining the level of digital readiness, one in three charities believes that they’ll soon find it harder to continue their work if they don’t improve their digital capabilities.
Marina Glogovac is President and CEO of CanadaHelps.org, a public foundation and a leader in providing powerful fundraising and donation technology to charities and donors since 2000. Marina has been a technology and media executive for more than 25 years, including roles at Kobo, Lavalife Corp., and St. Joseph’s Media. www.canadahelps.org
CanadaHelps is a charitable foundation working to increase giving in Canada through technology. CanadaHelps.org, provides a safe and trusted one stop destination for making donations, fundraising, or learning about any charity in Canada. The organization also develops affordable fundraising technology and provides free training and education for charities so that, regardless of size, all charities have the capacity to increase their impact and succeed in the digital age. More than 3 million Canadians have donated nearly $2 billion to charities using CanadaHelps since its founding in 2000. For additional information, visit CanadaHelps.org or connect with CanadaHelps on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.