Corporate volunteering with Habitat for Humanity
Australian companies spend millions of dollars every year on leadership development courses and retreats for their staff. But sending managers to expensive hotels or resorts often fails to challenge staff or generate lasting change in their leadership.
Increasingly, stakeholders, employees and customers are calling for organisations to conduct their business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner while generating profits.
Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives build staff engagement, strengthen a company’s ties with communities and provide longevity through sustainable business practices. Today, more staff, particularly for millennials are looking beyond remuneration for organisations that demonstrate higher purpose and provide engagement opportunities and incentives.
Habitat for Humanity is a leading not-for-profit provider of housing in over 70 countries. Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a path out of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 9.8 million people obtain safe and decent housing, along with the strength, stability and independence to build better lives.
Habitat for Humanity Australia has worked with many leading Australian companies – including Telstra, Origin, Flight Centre, Optus and Grant Thornton – to deliver a unique and impactful international volunteering program that is tailored to an organisation’s strategy and leadership development needs.
And the results have been striking.
FCm on their corporate volunteering build with Habitat in October 2016.
After a week of building houses alongside families in developing communities in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Fiji, staff have reported greater engagement, improved moral and enhanced workplace relationships. Organisations have found a channel to engage with their staff, remain competitive and experienced a number of other changes as a result.
We’ve seen a shift in workplace cultures, with corporate partners building on the momentum, effectiveness, and impact of our partnership.
They’ve leveraged increased staff engagement, improved employee morale and initiative, and benefited from an enhanced corporate image to drive both cultural and commercial growth.
And now we’re inviting you to do the same.
The Young Professionals build
In 2017, Habitat for Humanity is launching the Young Professionals build – a week long volunteering opportunity exclusively for emerging leaders to come together across industries and build homes in Indonesia. From September 9th – 16th 2017, you will have the chance to network with other young professionals while helping build a safe and decent home for a family in need.
“Some people are just really keen to make a difference – they feel like their whole lives are about themselves,” said Martin Thomas, CEO of Habit for Humanity Australia. “Companies are also looking to use these opportunities for professional and leadership development and drive engagement. The Leaders Build provides that very opportunity”
The Young Professionals build is a team building and professional development opportunity with a twist.
The build takes place in Yogyakarta, in the a community where families on average earn an unsteady income of $5AUD a day. In most cases this is barely enough to go toward the essentials such as food, water and schooling. There isn’t enough to repair their homes, let alone build a safe, new place to live.
The program not only provides young leaders with a unique immersion experience which forms new perspectives but it provides a challenging environment in which leadership, communications and teamwork can be tested and forged.
Unite to Build
While the Young Professionals build is the first of its kind in bringing together up and coming leaders across industries, Habitat for Humanity has worked with organisations for many years to tailor corporate volunteering experiences that meets strategic goals.
In July 2015, 135 leaders from Grant Thornton Australia travelled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to build homes for ten disadvantaged families. For the organisation’s new CEO, Greg Keith it was a team building experience in place of the firm’s annual partner’s conference.
“For us it was all about culture,” said Greg Keith, CEO of Grant Thornton. “We were trying to engage with our partners so that they would engage with their clients differently and they would think about the way that they meet our client’s needs. And to do that we thought we would take out partners to Cambodia, to experience something completely different and try to test them.”
Mr Keith says the importance of the opportunity lay in inviting all partners and providing a team building exercise that would allow the firm to develop as a whole, rather than selected individuals.
And the results speak for themselves: “We all refer things as pre-Cambodia and post-Cambodia because after Cambodia our people saw us differently, our clients saw us differently. We see ourselves differently.”
Grant Thornton sent 130 leaders to Cambodia in 2015.
For Grant Thornton, Mr Keith explains, the experience not only changed culture and engagement internally, but also attracted a new client base.
“Our commitment to CSR is completely different. We engage with our clients in a different level now and we have people who are attracted to us because we went to Cambodia,” said Mr Keith. “We have at least two major clients who I know chose to come to us because they found out about Cambodia and what we did there and they want to be associated with an organisation that was prepared to invest along those lines.”
Take your community contribution beyond the traditional ‘philanthropy’ model while investing in your most valuable asset – your employees. To learn more about the Young Professionals build click here or call on 1800 88 55 99.