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Giving Gets a Boost by Taking One to the Team

At Hampton Inn staff meetings, team members have built bicycles and playhouses for children in need in the United States, as well as prosthetic hands for children in Latin America.

April 5, 2013

While working together on charitable projects often fosters workplace camaraderie, team-building efforts also can be used to spark philanthropic endeavors.

At Hampton Inn staff meetings, team members have built bicycles and playhouses for children in need in the United States, as well as prosthetic hands for children in Latin America.

"It's team building with a purpose," says Gina Valenti, vice president of owner services, and Hampton brand culture and internal communications

Hampton, which is a Hilton Worldwide brand, has held a number of team-building sessions led by Odyssey Teams Inc. The Chico, California-based company works to help corporations improve employees' leadership, collaboration and communication skills, and caps off the sessions with a philanthropic project, says co-founder Lain Hensley. "There's always a bonding impact."

In the process, such efforts can be a powerful tool to help organizations instill their corporate culture and retain employees, Hensley says.

Hampton brought in Odyssey Teams for training sessions both with its Memphis, Tennessee-based corporate team members, and with top general managers of its hotels, which are all franchisees. Working on these projects helped forge strong ties between team members, Valenti says.

"It's a great way to combine corporate social responsibility and making a difference in the life of kids," Valenti says. "To kids who don't have a much, it's a way to give back."

Susan Ladika is a writer based in Tampa, Florida. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.