I’m guessing that unless you are an explorer or in the military, you’ve never actually had to build a raft, abseil down a cliff or cross a minefield or swamp in your job. Theres probably never been any urgent task that has demanded that all of your team had to clamber on to a milk crate in an urgent hurry, or read a map and compass, navigate a raft blind-folded, or had to move at speed from point to point.
I’m willing to bet that if you have been on any kind of team building or management development course over the last 20 years or so, that these are the tasks you have been trained to complete.
I have not only attended many of these courses, I have also run a few. They are a lot of fun, give some opportunity to bond (as long as you don’t fall out over the exercise), and can help lift morale in the short-term. They also tend to cost money and can be a disaster for the less than physically fit.
I was thinking about this whilst listening to Amanda Hite of TalentRevolution, talk at the recent #truNora.
Amanda was telling the story of the “No Kid Hungry” campaign in the states. It is hard to imagine how, in a country as affluent as America, there is still kids going without food, but it is a massive problem which the campaign have pledged to end by 2015.
What I’m most impressed about is how they have managed to get local
resatraunts and businesses involved in the campaign by harnessing the power of social media to spread the word. As a result of using social, and giving willing supporters something to share, they have made it commercially attractive for businesses to get involved and take part, raising a total so far that exceeds $280Mn that supports over 100 not for profit organisations, as well as enlisting 1000’s of volunteers to contribute by taking part in education programmes, outreach and a host of other undertakings.
The part of the campaign that stands out for me is that they pick strategic dates, set actions people can do, and more relevantly, enable supporters to run on-line campaigns to promote them. (It is even one of the sign up options.) Give people branded, clear resources to share, and they will gladly spread the word person-to-person, achieving massive reach and penetration.
I share this campaign because this really got me thinking. In a later track, I heard Alison McCourt tell the Hard Rock Cafe brand values and how following these values had helped drive employer brand, creating an environment where people are proud to tell their friends they work. Part of delivering on their values, sees active good works in the local communities. This is great for the employees, but equally, good for the business, and can only foster pride in the brand and a real sense of team.
Combining all these thoughts, think of the skills and resources you have in your business. Think of the many deserving local charities that or causes that would benefit from the expertise you have in your business. How far you could enable them to share their message if they had great resources to share, some marketing thinking and organisation. How would your team feel about your brand when they saw the tangible good they were achieving?
As a social business you have all the knowledge, knowhow and connections to make this a reality. A community based social project would also give you the opportunity to share skills across the team, give people an opportunity to lead and develop a sense of pride in the workplace. You have all the connections to amplify the message, raise money and spend time in the charities themselves directly with their causes.
There is of course the added commercial benefit of great PR internally and externally. Next time you are considering employer brand, staff retention, team building or training, ditch the rafts and think real corporate social responsibility. Put your social connections and knowledge to work to better your community, and be real ambassadors. In terms of team building, I’m sure it will beat building rafts! Don’t book a course, book a cause!
What ideas do you have to put social to good use?
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