One study conducted by J. Ryan Lamare, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois, revealed that an employee’s workplace environment has a direct correlation to how he or she interacts with the greater society and whether he or she becomes civically engaged.
The study revealed that more egalitarian office settings that foster a sense of openness and agency in the workplace can serve as a springboard for increased democratic attitudes and behaviors. But dictatorial or authoritarian workplace environments and practices are likely to lead to reduced participation in civic life outside of the office.
The findings of the study are quite significant because they uncovered the ways in which workplace settings can have a direct effect on democracy itself and how democracy grows and works outside of workplace settings.
When employees are more autonomous and open inside the workplace, they tend to be more positively engaged with their communities outside of the workplace.
Here are three benefits to combining workplace training with civic engagement.
1. You’re Tapping into What Newer Generations Already Want at Work
When Millennials are asked what they want from their own leaders in the workplace, they say that they want “someone who respects, honors and truly values each other’s opinions” and “someone who can create conversations where we can teach one another.”
Essentially, they respect and highly value more egalitarian environments that promote openness, transparency, strong communication, and the ability to adapt to different styles of connecting.
Research has consistently shown that when considering their workplace options, Millennials actively seek out a company’s work culture, involvement with causes, office environment, and attention to diversity and HR standards. And they sincerely value and want to be involved in cause work and be civically engaged via their employers.
2. You’ll be Encouraging More Diplomatic and Sincere Relationships
Combining training programs with civic engagement initiatives at your organization isn’t just for better public relations and external partnerships. It also encourages more diplomatic and sincere relationships across your organization and with its external stakeholders.
When employees are better connected to their communities, are owning civic responsibilities, and are actively participating with others to increase positive communications and initiatives, they’ll be more diplomatic and authentic with one another at work too.
3. You’ll be Training Future Servant Leaders
Servant leaders own the same traits and aspirations as those employees who are more civically engaged; they practice, exhibit, or endorse:
- Active listening
- An aptitude for persuading others
- Commitment to individual growth of their people
- Building a community
And training your employees to be servant leaders is valuable because studies have revealed that servant leadership leads to high-performing employees and that servant leaders pave the way for employees to have higher job satisfaction; it also:
- Inspires employees to own problems
- Encourages employees to innovate
- Stimulates a team-oriented atmosphere
- Fosters personal and professional growth
Read “Why Your Leadership Program Should Focus on Servant Leadership” for more details and to see the studies mentioned above.
As you develop your training programs, consider the benefits of tying them to civic engagement work and initiatives that are highlighted above.