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Image: Photo courtesy of Kaleida Health

Volunteer opportunities have become an important tool for recruitment and a great way for employers to engage workers.

Lisa Stefanie, president of Triple Track HR Partners in Williamsville, said isolation during the pandemic and the popularity of remote work has left a need in the business community for employees to feel like they’re “part of something bigger than themselves.”

“Volunteering is good for us, both physically and mentally,” she said. “Inevitably, it’s about this desire that everybody has to do something that brings them purpose. Sometimes we get caught up in the minutiae of the day to day, and we forget that we’re making a difference.”

Many of Stefanie’s clients increased community engagement after the May 14 shooting at Tops on Buffalo’s East Side.

“Some closed their doors and went down to that area to help supply food, water and support,” Stefanie said.

Businesses can provide paid time off to volunteer individually or work together as a team on company time. Her company volunteers as a team, she said, for three organizations.

“Providing those opportunities gives a message to the community where they’re doing business that they’re not just about making money but about making a difference in that community,” Stefanie said. “All of a sudden, you have this group of not just employees but ambassadors for your company.”

Kaleida Health recently added community engagement as a major pillar of its strategic plan, said Michael Hughes, chief administrative officer. As part of that, management positions are required to meet a minimum amount of time in community service.

That can be anything from running the Buffalo Marathon or biking the Ride for Roswell to volunteering with a local church, parent/teacher association or other community events or
fund raisers.

“We want to make sure we’re exposing our employees to the things going on around Western New York,” Hughes said. “The challenge of Covid slowed a lot of that down, but the opportunities to volunteer and give back have come back stronger.”

Kaleida sponsors a Habitat for Humanity house each year and opens that opportunity up to employees.

“So there could be an RN working next to a hospital administrator,” he said. “I think overall, we’re in the health care business, so we have a workforce that is altruistic and giving in nature.”

The Kaleida workforce also participates in Rock Out Hunger, a food drive campaign sponsored by 97 Rock that supports FeedMore WNY.

“We do some internal competitions too with each hospital or ambulatory centers (hosting) food drives,” Hughes said. “It’s designed to really be culture-building, and to promote teamwork and giving back. It’s an opportunity to get outside the four walls of the workplace and get to know coworkers a little bit differently.”

Story from Buffalo Business First. Read the original article here. 

Katie AndersonKatie Anderson
Buffalo Business First