By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
When we got in touch with Tiffani Murray to get her thoughts on volunteering, it wasn’t a surprise the accomplished a HR Technology & Talent Management Strategist and former Big4 employee was able to get to the heart of the matter right away.
“I definitely think volunteering has become more important in the workplace from a career development perspective aspect because there’s been a shift in company culture over time,” she says. “It used to be very cut and dry about projects and pay checks and now it’s become
Murray says there’s been another layer added to the more traditional venues to include charitable perspectives and the author of Stuck on Stupid: A Guide for Today’s Professional Stuck in a Rut, differentiates between these older and newer volunteering paths.
“The first one is volunteering from a project perspective,” she says. “When you’re part of the Big4, you might be staffed or billable on a project or you may not. When you’re not, it’s to your benefit to find things to engage yourself in.”
There’s always an initiative where you can lend a hand, Murray says adding possibilities also abound around the home office to learn, network and establish what she calls “your internal brand.”
Volunteering in community and charitable events is a growing area because it’s important people feel good about their company and what it stands for, according to Murray. She also points out this type of pro bono work increases a firm’s reputation and works from the macro business viewpoint. She attributes at least part of the corporate cultural shift to the Internet and the unavoidable social responsibility that comes with the increased visibility in cyberspace.
“Social media is another reason for the change. If a company does something bad, a hashtag can be created in a matter of minutes to spread the message out. I think Millennials are more equipped in that realm because they’ve grown up with the Internet and social media.”
From a company wide branding perspective, it makes sense for firms to use volunteering as a way to counter any online allegations and present themselves in the best possible light because, as Murray points out: “Now there’s a spotlight on the things that a company does to help other people and not just itself.”
The corresponding volunteering events also present opportunities to engage with executives at a higher level and represent a great differentiator for those looking to start on a career path after they’ve graduated.