Having just read Rick's post on the CanITPro blog (Connecting with the Community in a new way - Habitat for Humanity build) it seems like this was the week and weekend that everyone decided to use their volunteer hours to give back to the community. As Rick mentions in his post, every Microsoft Employee is encouraged to take some time and give back to the community, in fact, we are give 40 hours a year to do so.
For my part I donate my time to the Weekend to End Breast Cancer (http://www.endcancer.ca) events and have recently finished working on the Ottawa event (I did Winnipeg earlier this year, and will do Toronto in September). As a side note, Microsoft Canada has a team (Spirit and Sole) walking in the Toronto event and they have already raised over $40,000 towards Breast Cancer research.
As you look back through some of the posts here, you will see that we have some pretty enthusiastic participants that willingly give their time to help others. Graham talks about this in his "Is it all in the Genes?" post.
So as an IT Manager, do you encourage your employees to give back to the community? What programs do you have in place to encourage this type of behavior? Leave us a comment and let us know what your company is doing.
Good for you Rick! I am delighted to hear that MSFT employees are formally encouraged to give their time. A few of us are currently working on an initiative for the Vancouver area, whereby we are hoping that local IT workers can use those skills to help needy charitable organizations; more on that in the fairly near future if things come togethor.
There is no question in my mind that volunteering is a 'win-win-win' proposition; the individual gets the pleasure and 'growth' from the experience, people get their needs addressed, and the company or individual rightly gets recognition for a progressive attitude and social conscience.
As an individual you meet great people of a like mind and I am sure some very meaningful friendships have been 'born' that way. Seeing the difference that you have made is a 'unique' experience and not something that is easy to describe. Like most things in life, you have to do it to experience it.
It is not wrong to even suggest that there are good business reasons for a company to engage in charitable work. Take JDQ which I have blogged about here several times. I know the company principals and they are all 'good' people. I am quite sure that part of their intent was to help grow their business. This does not personally offend me in any way. However, I would venture to suggest that as individuals they discovered something quite unique along the way!
What I have grown to realize is that we are only really scratching the surface. We all have duties and responsibilities elsewhere, to our families for example, but just a few hours here and there can still make a difference.
Earlier I used the word 'growth'. Personal 'growth' is repaid many fold both personally and professionaly, even with how you relate to your family. 'Growth' pertains to maturity, outlook, how you handle yourself and others, etc.. It is one of those things in life that, again, you won't 'know' until you get there.
If you aren't all fired up to go and help by now, perhaps you never will be! Only those of us who have experienced the 'growth' know how unique it is.