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This is a week in which our heartstrings are being tugged as never before. Even as the stars line up to remind us of the importance of helping others via the BBC Children in Need appeal, we are faced with devastating pictures from the Philippines showing the aftermath of Typhoon Hayan which has directly affected as many as 11m people.
The British people have always been known as being among the most generous in the world but with two such overwhelming appeals it can sometimes be hard to know where to turn. And the desire to do something, to contribute food, clothes, money or skills can sometimes be blunted by the demands of everyday life. This is where businesses can step forward and take the lead. Encouraging events which can help to raise funds, giving people paid leave to contribute their services in times of need, creating the conditions for charity groups to flourish takes very little away from the business but can make a vast difference to the wider world.
Simple activities can make a difference. Running a cake sale or a soup kitchen once a month, allocating a meeting room for charity groups to get together and plan at lunchtime, offering a couple of days a year for employees to go out and help in the community; all these activities not only help the wider world, they also help employees to step outside of themselves and to think of others. In the process, as people work together on non-work projects they draw together, the team strengthens and the business benefits. If you want engaged employees you need to show them you care and helping them to care about others is one key element of this process. Charity may begin at home but encouraging charitable acts can also make a huge difference to a caring business culture and engaged employees.