Can business benefit from altruism?

By Carole Burman, MAD-HR

Giving time without expectation of fee or favour, caring selflessly, and considering others – they’re all phrases we’ve been used to hearing with greater frequency throughout the pandemic.

Published in Norfolk Director magazine, Spring | Summer 2022

Human Resources: MAD-HR

Is Altruism good for business?

How much does an altruistic ethos filter through to working life, and is it even considered as a healthy ‘culture’ addition to today’s modern business?

If I look back on my early career, learning the ropes in the world of HR, and understanding the basics of ‘people management’, I think it’s true to say that for a majority, money was the single biggest driver of what satisfied an employee.

But, no more.

Increasingly, and certainly among the newest generation of ‘Millennial’ staffers, more workers share with my colleagues and I that they favour the thought of being employed by a company that has a desire to serve its community selflessly.

A recent poll by PLAY revealed three-quarters of employees value the idea of their employer being more transparent on sustainability. It reiterates that today’s workforce increasingly wants to be part of a company with purpose and an altruistic ethos.

The idea of employer-supported volunteering (ESV) initiatives, charitable endeavours, and team-tasking based around helping a community are all highly applauded and seen as attractive to recruits.

At MAD-HR, this aspect of company culture was always part of my aspiration, as I believe you can’t encourage clients to adopt certain initiatives if you’re not leading by example.

As a business, we’re proud to help aspirational charities and enterprises through both the Suffolk and Norfolk Pro-Help initiatives. Our staff frequently participate in fundraising efforts, have a number of board trustee roles, and mentor young professionals in our sector.

We don’t choose this undertaking for reputation or vanity, but purely and simply because we know it benefits employees as much as it does recipient communities.

Indeed, those gains are clear for both staff and managers.

For example:

  • Improved connection with your community
  • Greater communication skills
  • Enhanced problem solving
  • Increased creativity
  • Development of confidence and resilience

Even before the pandemic, a study by Deloitte found that creating a culture of ‘volunteerism’ actually improves an organisation.

Of 1,000 people surveyed, 89% said companies that offer volunteering opportunities create a better working environment.

Having spoken at length with our clients about their experiences of ESV provision or of delivering their own approach to community projects, I can confirm that this is a cultural addition they have taken great pride in developing – and from which they’ve seen positive impacts among their team.

If you’ve not yet considered creating an ESV programme, or you’re just not sure where you’d start, I’d welcome the chance for my team and I to share our experiences. After all, on the back of a pandemic, and with all of our learnings about neighbourliness and the kindness of strangers – surely this is one positive legacy we can take forward in 2022.

Can business benefit from altruism? 1

Carole Burman is the Founder and Managing Director at MAD-HR. If you would like to discuss any issues raised in this article in more detail, please contact:
T. 01603 791256
or visit
Twitter @wearemadhr

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