How volunteering helps support our team culture

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We like to think of ourselves as a content marketing agency with heart and soul. And as we celebrate National Volunteer Month in May, we reflect on the many benefits that volunteering opportunities provide both in communities and the office.

Lucy Siebert

You might be surprised to learn that Hardie Grant actively encourages staff to set their day jobs aside so they can volunteer their time in local communities. We see this as just one of the ways that we build a positive, generous and outward-looking culture.

So before we celebrate National Volunteer Week (20–26 May), we want to reflect on why we offer our staff time and opportunities to volunteer.

Hardie Grant offers one volunteer day per year to everyone at the company, allowing them to contribute to a cause that they’re passionate about. Plus, we offer time out of the office to staff who wish to donate blood.

We believe these are small ways that we can give back to our communities and foster a giving culture. We also think that it is important to step away from the spreadsheets, the audience research, the client meetings and deadlines to see and experience another side of the world around us.

Experts say that volunteers experience significant health and wellness benefits from giving their time to causes they care about. These include less anxiety, less loneliness, a greater sense of belonging and more life satisfaction.

That’s a win-win. 

Last year Hardie Grant’s Melbourne office offered three organised group volunteer opportunities with TreeProject, Foodbank Victoria and the Australian Red Cross Blood Donation Service. These were hands-on chances to make a practical and significant contribution to projects and services that are making a difference each and every day.

Fifteen staff members braved the winter weather to head out to the Yarra Valley to plant hundreds of trees for TreeProject. This non-profit, non-government, volunteer-based organisation facilitates sustainable re-vegetation throughout Victoria by providing low-cost native seedlings to landholders.

We also had two groups of volunteers in a more urban setting packing food orders for Foodbank Victoria. This organisation provides food orders for some 470 charities that provide emergency relief for people in crisis.

Plus, Hardie Grant has signed up to the Red Cross Red25 program and regularly organises a blood drive, including a shuttle bus transfer to and from the donation centre. A number of our staff also donate blood in their own time.

These organised activities are great ways for our staff to give back, while building ties within our business as well.

So as National Volunteer Week this year celebrates 30 years of ‘Making a Difference’, we’re looking forward to continuing to support organisations with our time and energy – and reaping some of our own wellbeing and cultural rewards in the process. 

Benefits of volunteering

  • Empowers individuals by providing them with a meaningful role in the community
  • Boosts health, wellbeing and emotional resilience
  • Creates feelings of satisfaction, pride, purpose and accomplishment
  • Provides emotional contagion – spreads a sense of positivity
  • Allows volunteers to develop new skills and expand their world outlook
  • Helps build social networks, connectedness and community resilience
Source: Volunteering Victoria

Lucy Siebert, head of editorial, Melbourne

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