Anyone else out there feeling overwhelmed, unsettled, flustered, and downright anxious? I don’t know about you, but as the year comes to an end and I reflect back on 2020, I’m looking for a word more profound than “unprecedented” to describe the challenges we’ve all faced. When I search for synonyms, I come up with “unmatched”, “unparalleled”, and “exceptional”. Yes, yes, and yes. In a world where many of us long for consistency, clarity, regularity, and dependability, this year has been anything but that! If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last 10 months trying to make sense of this... ok, I’ll say it, unprecedented world we now live in. Everyone I know, from family and friends to coworkers and customers are trying, with every ounce of energy they can muster, to figure out how to operate in a world where the rules, guidelines, policies, and best practices are not only changing daily but also differ depending on where you live and who you speak to. It’s no wonder we’re all feeling the effects of the last 10 months. So now the question is, what do we do about it? How do we get settled?
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” In other words, if you want to reduce the stress you’re feeling or that your team or your peers or your customers are feeling, be of service. Being of service can mean many things to many people and the key is not what type of service you or your team does, it’s the act of being of service that matters. In a recent article, Business News Daily reported that being of service helps both the employee and the company. Meaning it’s a win-win for all of us!
Being of service also means building community, something we discussed in our blog, the 17 ways HR leaders are taking action to support mental health. This is why volunteering matters more now than ever and the opportunities are there since many underserved communities need help now more than ever. And if that’s not enough, factor in the positive effects of team bonding that can happen when you volunteer as a group!
Oracle’s My Volunteering, can help companies of any size create, promote, and track volunteer opportunities for their employees. With personalized recommendations, easy search and sign up, along with detailed reporting, companies can improve an employee’s engagement, well-being, network, and brand, all by doing good. Not to mention offering a comprehensive volunteer program helps attract new employees and retain the ones you have.
At Oracle, we believe our employees are change agents. We recently had a member of our North America Applications Strategy and Program Management Team come to talk to my organization about ways to get involved and support our communities. At Oracle, we believe “Service Above Self” is about sharing your time and resources to give back and the numbers show it! In FY20, 36,000 Oracle volunteers donated nearly 133,000 hours while working on 1600 volunteering projects supporting over 600 NGOs and nonprofit organizations. Yes, much of the effort has been virtual, but meaningful nevertheless. In fact, Oracle teams participated in this year’s International Volunteer Day, which was on Dec 5, 2020.
But let’s be clear, volunteering feels good any day of the year. When you see that what you’re doing is making an impact, it fills you up, makes you feel grounded, and allows you to “lose yourself in the service of others”. Who doesn’t need more of that in their lives right now?
So, grab a friend at work, or your team, or ask your manager if the entire organization can do a volunteer project together! All you need is an hour or two virtually, and you can make a difference with so many great causes. Then watch and see how making an impact also improves morale, engagement, connectedness, collaboration, your company’s brand, your team’s desire to work together—the list of benefits goes on and on.
If you’re still not convinced and need some inspiration and you’re feeling nostalgic for a film made 20 years ago, check out “Pay It Forward”, a movie about “the story of a social studies teacher who gives an assignment to his junior high school class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action.” When one young student creates a plan for "paying forward" favors, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, unbeknownst to him, has blossomed into a profound national phenomenon.”
There’s that “unprecedented” word again... but somehow it sounds so much better when describing a “wave of human kindness”, doesn’t it?! Let’s ride this wave by joining forces as teams, families, friends, and colleagues and give the gift of service this year!
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