For many corporations, volunteering is an afterthought, but instead, volunteering should be a priority because of the unique advantages. Volunteering looks differently for each business, and volunteer efforts range from a company-wide volunteer day to allowing employees a set number of paid hours to volunteer in lieu of work.
Foundations have been established to award grants for businesses that have employees who volunteer on a regular basis, and some corporations have even started offering volunteer sabbaticals for employees. Some companies have partnerships with specific charitable organizations while other companies allow their employees to volunteer with any charitable organization.
No matter how your Employee Volunteer Program (EVP) is structured, the important aspect is having a functional EVP so your employees are able to make a difference. Here are five reasons your company should encourage employees to volunteer:
1. Defines Your Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has an important impact on your company both now and in the future, and consumers and stakeholders are concerned with the impact your business has on both the environment and society. CSR is specific to each company, and most corporations choose issues that hold value to them or their industry.
In addition to showing commitment, having a reputable CSR will allow your business to establish government relations, show passion for issues, and display company values to society. A well-developed CSR offers many benefits including public relations and media visibility.
Every corporation should spend time developing their CSR because it allows their employees to engage in the community and build a stronger society by addressing social problems.
2. Redefines Your Company’s Image
In today’s society, image is everything, and giving back is a wonderful way to improve your company’s image for both consumers and employees. Consumers are driven to support companies with a strong CSR, and the more visible your volunteer efforts are, the more improvements your rankings will see.
Along the same lines, products that give a portion of the proceeds away will sell better even if they are more expensive than competitors’ products. By improving your company image, both consumers and stakeholders will be more inclined to invest in your business. Even competitors will view your business as a leader because you offer both time and resources to serve others.
Employees want to work for a corporation that is focused on more than the bottom line and increasing profit margins. As an employer, you need to perform compassionate acts so your employees will view you as human and considerate of others. This will help lower employee turnover and increase employee morale.
If your employees see you trying to make a difference for others, they will be more driven to work harder. Having an EVP and service projects could be an incentive for new employees, particularly with millennials.
3. Builds Teamwork Among Employees
Many companies structure their EVP as team-building exercises, and these volunteer opportunities are remarkable because they allow employees to work together while they are performing their volunteer efforts. Not only does this make a difference in society, it builds camaraderie among fellow coworkers.
If you have a larger corporation, a volunteer event could be an excellent way for employees to meet each other and foster relationships. Employees will be able to bridge the gap between departments and teams to learn more about one another including strengths and weaknesses, and this will be beneficial for future group projects.
4. Develops Employee Character Traits
Compassionate. Empathetic. Humble. Gracious. Helpful. These are typical qualities of avid volunteers, and by allowing your employees to volunteer, you are fostering these character qualities in your employees. This will help your workforce build character traits that will be an asset to your corporation because they will be able to enhance their leadership and professional skills. Fellow employees will be more inclined to work with employees that have these qualities, and in turn, this will increase your work production.
Volunteering also gives employees an identifiable role within the business. Especially in large companies, employees feel like they are just a number or job title, and volunteering will make employees feel needed and wanted. Research has shown that volunteering has lowered stress levels and improved people’s overall health.
5. Gives Back at a Local, National, Global, and Industry Specific Level
One of the beauties about volunteering is that you are making a difference no matter what route you take. Whether it is having a company-wide day to stock a food pantry or allowing your employees to take several hours at a time to volunteer for a cause of their choosing, every effort matters.
If corporations want to designate specific charitable organizations for volunteer purposes, they can choose causes that impact their local community or have a national or global impact. Many businesses choose issues that are specific to their industry such as a healthcare company giving health products to low-income families.
Volunteering offers so many benefits for everyone involved, whether it is the corporation, employees, or people directly impacted by the volunteer efforts. No matter how businesses choose to go about establishing an EVP and further developing their CSR, every company should be involved in volunteer opportunities of some aspect because of the benefits offered to the company and society.
About the Author
Valerie handles media relations for Caliber Collision, and in her spare time, she enjoys swimming, traveling, baking, and playing with her puppy, Emma. Some of her favorites include Taylor Swift, Coke Zero, and The Good Wife, and she enjoys living life to the fullest but also making time to enjoy the small moments.