Social Capital and the Holidays
The holiday season presents a natural setting for building social capital as many events center on reciprocity. It’s a time for office parties, family gatherings, visits with friends and neighbors, community charity events, gift exchanges, and religious services. It’s the time of year when people are most inclined to help others who are in need, and to reach out and include people who might otherwise be forgotten.
Take the time to recognize that employees are more than their job titles and the people you support are more than a job. Would you want to be alone sheltered from the holiday festivities? And remember — social capital is about reciprocity. The people you support might want the opportunity to do something nice for you for the holidays. The key to making reciprocity meaningful is to concentrate on what people can do. Refuse to categorize people; begin by listing their uniqueness. What people can do tells us how they can make a contribution to our lives.
Creating Social Capital in the Workplace
It’s no surprise to hear that today most Americans spend the majority of their waking hours at work — including longer commutes to get there. Technology has also increased the workday with cell phones, pagers, e-mail ... it seems we are almost always on call, leaving little time left to enjoy neighborhood gatherings and community activities.
Sometimes the workplace offers the only opportunity for some people to discuss current events, personal issues, or topics of interest. It becomes a natural environment to foster friendships.
25 Ways To Improve Social Capital:
- Host a holiday party and invite spouses and children
- Give staff time off work to participate in a community charity event
- Hold a food drive
- Distribute clothes and toys to those less fortunate
- Help someone find a job
- Go together and volunteer at a charity event
- Go Christmas caroling
- Offer gym membership discounts/incentives
- Invite local government officials to come and speak at your organization
- Start a book club
- Volunteer your site as a meeting location for community groups
- Form a lunch group
- Host a holiday open house
- Start a team for a local sports league
- Take home cooked meals to a prison
- Clean up a park or a playground
- Volunteer rides for people who don’t have a means of transportation
- Host a movie night
- Start an exercise/walking club
- Start a town newsletter
- Organize a neighborhood litter pick-up
- Hold a potluck luncheon
- Have a New Years resolution party and make bookmarks of every one’s New Year’s goals (then use the bookmarks for your book club)
- Encourage long time employees to mentor newer staff members
- Schedule birthday celebrations