Mindfulness in the workplace
Companies are going to great lengths to both engage and retain top talent and boost morale through a number of creative programs. From unlimited vacation days to work from home allowances, employees are looking beyond just salary to the entire package and opportunities associated with a job offer.
Companies that take worker engagement seriously should offer an Employee Volunteerism Program, creating opportunities for employees to give back within the community by volunteering on a semi-regular basis throughout the work week.
According to the report Snapshot 2014: A Rising Tide of Expectations–Corporate Giving, Employee Engagement and Social Impact, employees expect their companies to provide an effective, contemporary workplace giving program, the ability to use work time to volunteer, opportunities to engage in skills-based activities and matching gifts for employee contributions to nonprofits, which suggests that having an Employee Volunteerism Program (EVP) is no longer a “nice thing to have,” it’s necessary for attracting new talent.
But what are the benefits of employee volunteerism for your business?
Corporate employee volunteer programs not only benefit the worker but also the company. Corporate social responsibility programs can support core business interests such as employee engagement and development, sales, recruiting and stakeholder relations.
According a survey from Volunteer Match, 94 percent of companies believe employee volunteering provides a way to raise employee morale and 66 percent of employees reported a greater commitment to the company as a result of their experience volunteering.
When companies support colleagues to volunteer with one another, it not only improves employee relationships, it creates a sense of purpose outside of the day-to-day work routine. So, what should your company consider when creating an Employee Volunteerism Program? Here are some suggestions:
Clearly define your goals
The nature of a business will likely determine the type of employee volunteer program developed. It is necessary to have buy in and, most importantly, the support of senior management when kicking off corporate employee volunteerism.
Allow management to get involved when deciding what that goal will be in respect to:
- What interests employees;
- What the company is trying to accomplish;
- And how this benefits the community.
Allot time for community volunteerism
To ensure it happens, it is important to put in place some guidelines for an Employee Volunteerism Program.
Each year since 1993, Timberland has allowed its employees 40 paid hours to volunteer each year. While most of its volunteerism is tied to “community greening,” a cause aligned with the brand, Timberland maintains flexibility with its program. Parameters can also determine the type of programs a company can offer, as well as the amount of money that will be spent on them.
Assign a project manager
All Employee Volunteerism Programs should have a designated project manager who will be in charge of coordination with the company employees and the main point of contact for the organization(s) for which your company volunteers.
The project manager will also be the cheerleader, the person rallying the troops for participation and support. This person should have the backing of a management team to ensure all projects go off without a hitch.
Stress the importance of volunteerism
Some companies don’t know the best way to go about communicating their programs or impact. In this case, rely on your volunteers – aka, your employees. Encourage employees to share their experiences via social channels, on a company blog or even through networking events.
Finally, employee engagement in corporate volunteer programs can significantly improve job performance. That’s not just talk: United Healthcare’s Do Good Live Well Study showed 92 percent of people who volunteer throughout their workplace report higher rates of physical and emotional health.
The Bottom Line: Employee Volunteerism Programs must be a focus for companies to not only retain employees and boost morale, but to support and grow the core values of a business.