Benefits of Giving Back as a Team
A group of staff from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) recently participated in Association Forum’s Centennial Day of Service at The Fred Matthews Senior Housing Center, a 60-unit affordable housing unit for seniors. They had a great afternoon visiting and playing bingo with residents, while spending time with other members of the association community.
This event got us thinking, why is team participation in events like this important? What are the benefits of giving back as a team? Special thanks to AAHPM team members Steve Smith, CEO and Executive Director; Emily Muse, Manager, Communities and Programs; and Allison Lundberg, Manager, Marketing and Membership, for their insightful answers.
AMC: Is giving back as a team a strategic part of the AAHPM culture? If so, why do you feel it’s important? Do you consider it a critical component of team building?
Smith: AAHPM’s team culture closely mirrors that of our association’s culture, I believe. We are team-oriented, supportive and believe in “giving back” through service to the hospice, palliative and communities supported by our own professional associations. Several of our team members volunteer and support hospices, for example, outside of their work at AMC and AAHPM. And others are active in Association Forum, ASAE, AAMSE and other organizations that help us develop new skills and connect with other professionals.
Muse & Lundberg: Absolutely. Working for an association where our members give back to the community every day inspires us to be involved in our community as well. We are humbled by our members’ giving culture and we want to continue to spread comfort and happiness to those around us.
AMC: What are the various ways in which the team benefits from attending events like this?
Smith: When I saw the opportunity to participate in this community service project through Forum I knew I wanted to do it. It occurred to me that there might be others on my team who would like to go too and that would make the experience even better. The activity provided a great opportunity for the three of us to have a shared experience, connect with others, talk about non-work related “stuff” on the trip to and from the city and of course, celebrate Association Forum’s centennial through service. Personally, I love interacting with seniors. During college I worked in a retirement community so this was also an opportunity to reconnect with older adults in their environment and to “be in the moment” vs. running from one meeting to another – at least for a few hours.
Muse & Lundberg: We take pride in having a tight knit team who enjoys working together, so being able to give back as a team continues to strengthen our not only our working relationships, but also our personal relationships. It is beneficial for our team to have experiences outside of the office and view things from a different perspective, even if it is only for a few hours. Service events are rejuvenating and humbling and help us focus on the big picture once we return to the office.
AMC: If applicable, how does the association benefit from the team taking part in these types of events?
Smith: Getting out of the office and into environments where services are being provided is important for our team. We do not directly deliver care in our work but our members do. Opportunities like this can be both educational and fulfilling. Each member of our team usually spends a day with an AAHPM member as well at some point during the year.
Muse & Lundberg: The service event was held by Association Forum and it was great to connect and make connections with other Forum members around the Chicagoland area. These events enhance AMC’s presence and define a culture that we take pride in here at AMC.
AMC: What’s your best advice for inspiring and initiating philanthropic participation as a team?
Smith: Find something people might enjoy doing together. Don’t make the activity a required event. Not everyone wants or is able to do community service and that’s ok. It is not, however, a reason for others not to do something together.
Muse & Lundberg: AMC employees are extremely hardworking and we often get caught up in the busyness of our day to day tasks that we forget to come up for air once in a while. AMC is part of a large industry and it’s good to inspire colleagues to look at the bigger picture, take half a day, and volunteer at a service event. Spend time outside of the office with your colleagues and get to know each other on a deeper level to increase your working relationship. It’s extremely rewarding and helps make the world feel a bit more connected.