When we give to others, we become better people. Or maybe better people give to others. It's hard to tell. Regardless, donating money to charities which support people in need is a noble and great thing to do. We should all give what we can.

That said, pressuring your co-workers, or worse, your employees, to donate to your favorite cause is bad management and not indicative of your status as a kind and charitable person. In fact, it makes you a jerk, which I'm pretty sure cancels out any bonus points you're getting towards a blissful afterlife for raising the money in the first place. (See: The Good Place.)

I received this email from a woman whose HR department was off the deep end their constant requests for "charitable" giving.

We have a salaried exempt HR employee whose daughter who is a teacher at a local school. Every year this employee sends an email to all employees asking them to give Christmas gifts to a needy child - in her daughter's class.

This HR employee will even ask other employees to cut out angels - during work time - to help in her personal charity.

It's very time consuming for this employee collecting all of the gifts and then getting them to her daughter.

I don't participate because I feel that it is just one more large solicitation initiated by our HR department. This isn't the only charity the HR department pushes. I'm tired of being asked to bring in canned goods and to give money to HR charities.

I'm made to feel that I am not a team player and that I don't engage enough.  I've even been told that I need to promote the charities - even if I don't give.  (By my HR Manager).

Am I wrong to feel this way?  I think that United Way is enough to ask employees to do as the company charity.  But all of these other things - that are constant - really are going over the line.

This HR department has crossed over the line. Putting up an Angel Tree in the lobby and letting employees know it's there, fine. Having people cutting out angels while on the clock to support an employee's daughter? Not fine. Telling someone she isn't a team player because she doesn't choose to support a particular charity? Also not fine.

To be honest, I am not even a huge fan of United Way drives because so many managers feel that every single person needs to participate. Here's the thing: People accepted a job based on the salary offered. To come back and say, "Everyone needs to give 1 or 2 percent of their salary to United Way!" is basically saying, "We lied when we offered you this salary. You'll really only get 98 percent of that!" Don't do that.

Lots of people want to donate to a charity and are happy to participate in a company charity drive, but you should never pressure those that don't.

In this specific situation, the employee who is told she isn't a "team player" for not wanting to help out on HR's chosen charities should push back. "I am a team player. I am actively engaged in my work and I support my co-worker in their work. What you are asking is for me to donate my time and money to the charity of your choosing. That has nothing to do with being a team player." 

Just like office parties, charitable giving needs to be completely voluntary. Those of you who try to force it on others aren't being good and noble, so please stop it.

Have a workplace dilemma? Email me at EvilHRLady@Gmail.com.

Published on: Dec 18, 2017