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8 Ways Talent Managers Can Support Volunteer-Service

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In my last post, I shared results from the UnitedHealth report, Doing Good is Good For You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, which revealed some important connections between volunteerism and personal and professional success. Volunteerism can also be a powerful tool for K-12 Talent Managers in selecting, developing, and retaining staff. Based on my experience as an HR professional and leader of a nonprofit organization for more than 20 years, here are eight ways talent managers can use volunteer-service to strengthen their organizations.

1. Select: We know that volunteer service impacts health and well-being, so look for staff who have a history of giving back. Their diverse experiences and talent sets can only benefit your organization!

2. Inform: I have always been amazed when people say to me, "I want to help, I just don't know how." Provide employees with information on volunteerism or service-learning. There are many free resources online or feel free to email me if you need help.

3. Provide: Educators work to make a difference in the lives of their students every day. But, for many teachers and school leaders, their passion for service doesn't stop when the bell rings at the end of the day. Try to provide opportunities for all staff to volunteer or donate to an important cause. I hear often from building staff that their most memorable moments were taking gifts to a student's home at the holidays or providing meals to needy families in the community. These activities will also have the added benefit of improving employees' physical, mental, social, and emotional health as well as grow their career skills.

4. Lead: As a talent manager, you can't just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Find a cause and get involved. There are many great organizations that need your support!

5. Recognize: There is nothing wrong with recognizing a staff member for their charitable work outside of school. A little positive news and reinforcement never hurt anyone!

6. Encourage: Showing educators that your district or school supports volunteerism is important. Every year, I work with teachers who organize service-learning events for their students focused on everything from the environment to government to health, and more. These projects are always fun and the students and teachers learn a great deal.

7. Communicate: If your organization values service, reinforce this commitment in communications to students, parents, teachers, and other community leaders. Work to make it part of your brand and reputation locally and nationally. This message can also be an effective recruiting tool to attract new talent to your district or school.

What other benefits does volunteerism offer to K-12 talent managers or HR professionals in any organization? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

For more information on talent management and volunteering, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @EmilyDouglasHC or join the online Twitter chat using the hashtage, #K12TalentMgr!

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