Boost Employee Engagement & Productivity with Volunteering
In today’s world, businesses need to have a heightened sense of ethics, and they are expected to be accountable for how their practices impact society. Employee volunteerism is a concept that many businesses have embraced as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee productivity strategy.
Companies realize that they can boost employee engagement and productivity through corporate volunteering while pledging to contribute more to their communities. To effectively carry out these programs, businesses need to weigh all the benefits and potential advantages.
What is an Employee Volunteer Program (EVP)?
Employers and HR teams are increasingly prioritizing and investing in many wellness trends in 2021. One growing trend is the workplace-based initiative of implementing corporate volunteerism, also called employee volunteering programs. In fact, more than 25% of companies today participate in corporate volunteerism. Volunteer programs are a way for employers to participate actively and support their employees in serving their communities.
As businesses play an integral role in building a thriving community, they carry a social responsibility to leave a positive impact. Companies can encourage employees by allowing paid time off for volunteering, offering other incentives and rewards, or introducing policies that support employee volunteering. For example, voluntary-time-off (VTO) policies define how much time employees get to volunteer during work hours and how they can use that time.
What are the Elements of an Effective Volunteer Program?
The best part of volunteering is that any business can participate, regardless of the size or industry. Employees can volunteer individually, as a team, or as a whole company. Volunteer projects can be carried out as a one-time event or ongoing long-term projects.
The projects can be as simple as environmental cleanup initiatives, donation drives, or a complex project involving pro bono work for nonprofits and charities. Businesses can tailor volunteer programs to suit their needs and the needs of the community.
Regardless of the details, the foundation of an effective volunteering program should have the following key elements:
- Alignment of the company’s core purpose and values
- Base activities on the employee’s interests
- Target real community needs
The chances of building a successful volunteering program are higher when a cause truly resonates with employees. Businesses need to develop a strategy that provides employees with opportunities that generate positive social change. More than 50% of employees believe their company should connect them with opportunities for charitable engagement.
What are the Benefits of Employee Volunteer Programs?
Workplace volunteering has numerous benefits, as programs offer a win-win scenario for all parties, the business, its employees, and the community. Volunteerism tackles some of the most common workplace problems, such as high levels of disengagement, poor performance, and high turnover rates.
Increased employee productivity and engagement
Volunteering is becoming a crucial part of any employee engagement strategy. Research has shown that there is a link between volunteerism and employee productivity. The feeling of making a difference in the world cultivates a sense of purpose that brings employees fulfillment, resulting in a higher level of commitment and productivity. Effective volunteering programs leave employees feeling empowered and creates high levels of pride.
Nine out ten employees in a survey think that company-sponsored volunteer activities—such as 10k runs or food drives help create a better working environment. A positive corporate culture where employers support their staff and encourage them to volunteer will increase employee productivity and satisfaction.
Increased employer brand awareness
A deciding factor of younger employees’ careers is the company’s involvement in societal causes. In particular, millennials and Gen-Z employees increasingly want to work at companies that match their values and have an excellent corporate reputation.
Therefore, businesses that commit to making a positive impact on communities experience increased retention and job loyalty from employees. As the labor force consists of more and more young employees, corporate volunteering is vital in attracting and retaining top talent.
By implementing corporate volunteering, companies improve their brand image and differentiate themselves from the competition. This, in turn, helps them recruit employees that are better aligned with their values and attract other socially conscious employees.
Improve employee’s health and wellbeing
Corporate volunteering is a great tool to promote a healthy work-life balance and foster a culture that supports employee wellbeing. Three-quarters of adults reported that volunteering makes them feel physically and emotionally healthier. This means employees feel less burnt out, therefore decreasing absenteeism and improving mental health. Almost 80% of participants in a study reported lower stress levels because of volunteering and better mental health.
One global study revealed that consumers are 4 to 6 times more likely to purchase from purpose-driven companies. Attracting new customers and clients through improved brand image increases sales and will be reflected in the business’s profitability. Besides that, even the slightest employee engagement increase will positively impact the company’s revenue.
Builds team morale
Deloitte’s survey found that creating a culture of volunteerism in the workplace boosts morale and creates a positive working environment. In fact, this survey found that 70% of employees believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours. When coworkers participate in team-building activities for a good cause, especially for a charity, they feel more connected. Volunteering outside the workplace helps strengthen bonds between employees that translate to a more pleasant work atmosphere.
Creates new partnerships
A business’s involvement with a nonprofit organization or a charity is not just another accomplishment they can check off. Instead, it’s an excellent opportunity to drive meaningful change in the community while promoting your business. Providing assistance in alleviating community social issues and giving genuine solutions will strengthen the mutually beneficial working relationships with other organizations, clients, and vendors.
Personal growth & development
Through volunteering, employees can learn and develop a new skill-set outside of the workplace. Volunteering provides employees with skill-building opportunities, including leadership and learning opportunities. It allows employees to grow, enhances their communication and collaboration skills, and gives them a fresh perspective. Learning a new skill is a great morale booster and can positively affect the workforce.
Businesses are no longer responsible only for the economic growth in their communities, they are also the drivers of social change. Based on the evidence, the business case for volunteerism shows a significant impact on engagement and opens up a world of benefits. Businesses that do not invest and give back to society risk falling behind competitors with a strong CSR strategy.