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How to motivate a team through corporate giving

on Tuesday, 21 March 2017. Posted in Teambuilding

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Being a company that gives to the wider community has many benefits for both individual staff and business. We examine some of the benefits below, including fun team building and staff motivation and engagement.

Stimulating team belonging promotes fun and engagement at work

We all need a place to belong - within our communities, families and it is the same when it comes to our workplace. Analysis of the 2011 Best Workplaces Survey data of over 31,000 employees and 228 private, public and not-for-profit organisations within New Zealand shows that a sense of belonging is the top driver for engaging employees. Researchers involved in the survey also identified the business benefits of engaged employees: the upper quartile of the best performing and most engaged organisations on average have 2.2 days less absenteeism per employee and have 5.1 per cent lower voluntary staff turnover.

The better-ranking organisations actively promote and facilitate team-based cultures. Great workplace employers adopt a variety of strategies to create a sense of belonging. Many of these strategies are aimed directly at bringing people together through fun at work team building activities and improving the quality of the social relationships within the organisation. This includes participation in community events or projects.

Giving to the wider community can be part of building an internal sense of community within a workplace. I had the opportunity to explore this idea recently when speaking to Paul Richards, the CEO of Club Physical.

Health Club staff connect with the local community

Club Physical are a national franchise network of local gyms that aim to make a connection with the local community. The CEO Paul Richards has instigated a number of ‘giving’ initiatives, with some surprising results.

One Club Physical initiative is the Cancer Wellfit Program which has been running for eight years. Club Physical offer a free 10 week program for up to twelve people at the gym, designed especially for those who have cancer, or are recovering from cancer. Club Physical provides a trainer for the group twice a week for ten weeks. Each person is however free to use the gym at any other time.

Over the time the group has been running, Paul has noticed a very strong bond grow amongst group members. At first “they start not knowing each other and are quite fearful”. However, because they have something important in common, this “creates a strong bond” he says. “Some are in their 20’s, some are in their 60’s, but they have something in common. At least half the group are women with breast cancer. They now support one another. They will ring to remind each other to come! They have their session then sit down and have a cup of tea together afterwards”.

In December 2007 Club Physical also turned their efforts to supporting needy children overseas, through World Vision. For every new gym member who sponsored a child, Club Physical offered 1 month free gym membership. They also gave 50% of the joining fee direct to World Vision. Each of the 11 Club Physical branches is also sponsoring a child from the same town in Myamar.

Paul feels very passionate about the Club Physical World Vision project. Why? “Because life is short and everyone in business is flat out focusing on their own business and I had feelings of guilt and responsibility for other parts of the world. I began to wonder about life and what God would really want us to do. In New Zealand there is this feeling that people are not fairing very well and can’t pay their mortgages, but in comparison to people overseas we are very well off. Our state houses would be mansions to some of these people.” It is Paul’s hope that his passion for the World Vision project is adopted by his staff.

Why Staff Love to Give and Why They Love You For It

Paul is also enthusiastic about the benefits of the program for his own staff. “They love it” he says. Paul’s staff love running the program “because it has nothing to do with money, they feel that they are able to do something purely to help others”.

Paul feels that some of the business benefits of the World Vision initiative will include staff morale and retention. This is particularly the case with his younger staff. Paul had attended a number of seminars overseas and one of the speakers had been talking about the Y Generation. The presenter explained that, “they are going to have 28 jobs over their career on average and if they don’t like a job, they will just move on”. However, the presenter also explained that “one thing that the Y generation do seek in a job, is working for a company with a cause they can believe in”. Paul hopes that his younger workers in particular, will feel this way about Club Physical and make more of a commitment to the company.

Team gifting (and team building) ideas

You may be wondering how your business can become an organization who gives. There are numerous ways to do this. And, it is not all about financial investment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Trust of New Zealand explain that “there are varying degrees of philanthropic commitments, and options including: fundraising, matching employees' contributions, donating goods, contras, placing associated logos on products, offering the use of facilities or meeting rooms, or sending in skilled staff to lend a hand”.

Remember, what comes around goes around! ‘A generous man will himself be blessed’ (Proverbs 22:9).


Kathryn Owler, Director of

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