Why your company should encourage employees to volunteer

This article highlights the benefits of encouraging your employees to volunteer such as increased employee engagement and improved brand reputation.

Volunteering has become a vital part of society, with millions of people around the world donating their time and expertise to help those in need. In recent years, volunteering has also become an important component of corporate social responsibility. This is because companies are realising the benefits of employee volunteering, not only for the community but also for their business. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why your company should encourage employee volunteering, and the benefits that come with it. We’ll explore the advantages of employee volunteering for both companies and employees, and how it can have a positive impact on society. We’ll also suggest some ways that companies can encourage employee volunteering and how to measure the impact of an employee volunteering program.

What is employee volunteering?

Employee volunteering is a program that supports employees to volunteer their time and expertise to nonprofit organisations and community groups during their regular work hours. It is the employee’s company that typically organises and supports these volunteering activities, which can include individual and group volunteering.

In recent years, employee volunteering has gained popularity as more companies recognise the benefits for their business, their employees, and the communities in which they operate.

Encouraging employees to volunteer can be a powerful way for companies to give back to society while helping their staff to develop personally and professionally.

Through volunteering, employees can engage in fulfilling activities that expand their skill set, experience and knowledge beyond their typical work tasks.

Employee volunteering can help companies demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility, enhance their reputation, and foster a positive workplace culture. There are different ways that companies can support employee volunteering including providing paid time off or organising volunteer days for the whole company.

Employee volunteering can take various forms, including fundraising, mentoring, teaching, and physical labour. Companies can choose the type of volunteering program that best aligns with their goals, values, and resources.

Employee volunteering is an excellent way for companies to support their communities, promote a culture of social responsibility, and provide employees with meaningful and rewarding experiences.

Reasons to encourage employee volunteering

Let’s look at some of the reasons to encourage employee volunteering in your company.

Increased employee engagement

Encouraging employee volunteering can have a positive impact on employee engagement, which is a critical factor in the success of any organisation. By providing employees with opportunities to volunteer, companies can give them a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. This can lead to higher levels of engagement, motivation, and commitment to their job, resulting in increased productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
Employee volunteering programs not only increase engagement but also provide employees with opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge. Volunteering exposes employees to new situations, people, and problems, which can result in personal growth, increased confidence, broadened perspectives, and improved skill sets. As a result, employees become more engaged and motivated in their work.

Volunteering can also cultivate a sense of community and connection among employees. By volunteering as a group, colleagues who may not usually work together can collaborate and establish new relationships. This fosters a more positive work environment where employees feel more connected to their colleagues and the company. This sense of community can create a more positive organisational culture, leading to significant benefits for employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Improve brand reputation

Encouraging employees to volunteer can have a positive impact on a company's brand reputation. Today, consumers and employees are increasingly looking for socially responsible companies that contribute to their communities.

By supporting nonprofit organisations and promoting employee volunteering, companies can demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility while at the same time enhancing their reputation in the community. This can lead to increased brand loyalty, favourable media coverage and a more positive public image.

Employee volunteering can help companies forge stronger ties with their local communities. Participating in local projects and supporting community groups can show a company's dedication to the areas in which it operates.

In industries where environmental or social responsibility is a concern, this can build trust and goodwill with residents and stakeholders. Companies that are responsible corporate citizens are more likely to attract and retain customers, investors, and employees.

Attract talent

Companies in today's competitive business landscape are constantly seeking ways to differentiate themselves and attract top talent. Beyond offering competitive salaries and benefits, many companies recognise that employees are looking for a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. Employee volunteering is one way to meet this need.

Giving employees the opportunity to volunteer and showcase their dedication to social responsibility can help companies recruit and retain employees who are passionate about giving back to the community. This too can result in a more committed and engaged workforce, which can have significant advantages for the company's overall performance.

Positive community impact

Encouraging employee volunteering can have a tremendously positive impact on the community. When employees volunteer, they contribute to causes that support their local community, from cleaning up parks to mentoring at-risk youth. The time and energy employees invest in volunteering can help improve the lives of those around them, creating a more positive and supportive environment for everyone.

Employee volunteering can also help build stronger relationships between businesses and the communities they operate in. By working with nonprofit organisations and supporting local initiatives, companies can demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their communities. This can help build trust and goodwill among community members, which can be valuable for businesses in the long run.

Importantly, when employees volunteer in their communities, it can help address important social issues that may not receive adequate attention and support otherwise. For example, when employees volunteer at food banks or homeless shelters, they can help alleviate food insecurity and homelessness in their communities. By engaging in these types of volunteer activities, employees can make a positive difference in the lives of those who are struggling and help create a more just and equitable society for everyone.

Benefits of employee volunteering

Employee volunteering benefits everyone involved - the employees, the community, and the company. Aside from positively impacting the community, employees benefit personally and professionally when they volunteer their time and skills.

This then has a flow on effect to the company. In this section, we'll explore the benefits of employee volunteering and some ways it can help employees, the community, and the company.

For employees

  • Provides an opportunity to develop new skills
  • Boosts employee morale and job satisfaction
  • Enhances team building and collaborations skills
  • Can lead to personal and professional growth
  • Can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience that creates a sense of purpose and meaning. In a United Council for Voluntary Organisations found that 84% of participants in employer sponsored volunteering felt like they were making a difference. Similarly, 83% reported that it gave them a sense of personal achievement. 

For the community

  • Addresses important community needs that might otherwise go unmet
  • Builds stronger relationships between companies and local communities
  • Helps strengthen the social fabric of the community by encouraging a culture of volunteering
  • Provides a cost-effective way to support nonprofit organisations
  • Can have a positive impact on a range of social issues, such as hunger, poverty, education and environmental sustainability.

For the company

  • Opportunity to align with corporate social responsibility goals and values
  • Boosts productivity
  • Improves brand reputation and public relations
  • Build stronger relationships with the community in which they operate
  • Improves employee morale and job satisfaction. According to a Deloitte survey. 70% of respondents believed that volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours.




Ways companies can encourage employee volunteering

In this section, we suggest some effective methods companies can use to encourage employee volunteering.

Offer paid time off for volunteering

Offering paid time off to employees who volunteer is an effective way to motivate and support them in their community service efforts. It shows the company's commitment to social responsibility and community engagement, while providing a tangible incentive for employees to contribute to their community. When companies provide paid time off, they acknowledge and value their employees' interests and promote a healthy work-life balance.

When employees feel supported in their volunteer efforts, they become more connected to their employer and more motivated to perform at their best. This support can ultimately result in a more engaged and productive workforce.

Partner with nonprofit organisations

Nonprofit partnerships are an effective way for employers to encourage employee volunteering. These partnerships help companies provide their workforce with opportunities to engage in volunteer work aligned with the company's values and objectives. By contributing to causes they care about and are supported by their employer, employees may feel a greater sense of purpose and pride, leading to increased motivation and job satisfaction.

Partnering with nonprofits can help companies build stronger connections with their local communities, highlighting their dedication to having a positive impact in the areas where they operate. This can help build trust and goodwill among community members, ultimately contributing to the company's reputation and bottom line.

Engaging in volunteer work can offer employees the chance to gain new skills and knowledge and receive hands-on experience in areas like project management, fundraising, and community outreach. This can create a more versatile and skilled workforce, benefiting the company in the long term.

Employee volunteering through nonprofit partnerships can also help expand an individual's professional network and build relationships that may contribute to their career growth. Such connections can provide employees with new perspectives, opportunities, and the ability to learn from others' experiences.

Provide volunteer opportunities that align with company values 

Companies can encourage their employees to volunteer by providing opportunities that align with their values. When volunteer programs are consistent with the company's mission and values, employees are more likely to be motivated and inspired to participate. This can lead to a more committed and engaged workforce, which can have positive effects on the company's overall performance.

Providing volunteer opportunities that align with the company's values can also help businesses enhance their brand reputation. Being a socially responsible company that is committed to having a positive impact in the world can help build trust and loyalty among customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

Celebrate and recognise employee volunteer efforts

Celebrating and recognising employee volunteer efforts is a crucial aspect of encouraging employee volunteering. When companies acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of their employees giving back to the community, it helps to create a culture of volunteerism. This encourages more employees to get involved. Celebrating employee volunteering can take many forms, such as hosting an annual volunteer appreciation event or recognising volunteers through employee newsletters or social media.

Celebrating and recognising employee volunteer efforts can help to boost employee morale and motivation. When employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions outside of their regular work duties, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their jobs. This can lead to a positive impact on employee retention and productivity, as well as the overall workplace culture.

How employee volunteering can improve corporate social responsibility efforts

Employee volunteering can play a critical role in enhancing a company's corporate social responsibility efforts. Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, refers to a company's commitment to operate ethically and sustainably while considering the impact of its operations on the environment and society. By supporting employee volunteering, companies can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility by leveraging their employees' skills and expertise to make a positive impact on their local communities. For example, many companies offer volunteer days where employees get the opportunity to work on projects in their local communities such as creating community gardens, refurbishing playgrounds, and cleaning up local parks.

Through employee volunteering, companies can align their CSR efforts with their business objectives, values, and culture. By partnering with nonprofit organisations and supporting causes that resonate with their employees, companies can foster a sense of purpose and community among their workforce. 

Employee volunteering is an effective method of helping companies identify and address social issues that are relevant to their stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and local communities. By engaging with these stakeholders through employee volunteering, companies can gain insights into the issues that matter most to them and develop more targeted and effective CSR initiatives. For instance, a company may find that its employees are interested in volunteering at a local food bank, so the company could create a CSR initiative to help fund the food bank and provide additional volunteers to help with its operations. 

How to measure the impact of employee volunteering 

To assess the effectiveness of employee volunteering programs and achieve company goals, it's essential to measure their impact.

Understanding the impact can reveal opportunities to make a greater impact on the community and identify areas for improvement. Here are some methods to measure the impact of employee volunteering programs.

Gather measurable data

Measuring the impact of employee volunteering programs can be done by collecting quantitative data. Companies can track the participation rates, hours contributed, and number of nonprofit partners to demonstrate the program's effectiveness.

By measuring things such as the number of meals provided, students mentored, or parks cleaned, companies can quantify the positive impact of employee volunteering.

Survey and interviews 

Gathering qualitative data through surveys and interviews can offer valuable insights into the impact of employee volunteering. Surveys can be circulated to employees, nonprofit partners and community members to gauge their perceptions of the program's impact.

Interviews with employees who have volunteered can provide insights into how the experience has affected their motivation and connection to the company. Similarly, feedback from nonprofit partners and community members can offer insight into the impact of employee volunteering on the community and the nonprofit organisation.

Cost savings 

Employee volunteering programs can increase retention rates, boost employee engagement, and enhance a company’s reputation leading to cost savings for the company. For example, programs that match employee interests and skills with volunteer opportunities can lead to greater job satisfaction and commitment to their employer.

Social impact

Companies can evaluate the social impact of their employee volunteering programs by monitoring the progress towards addressing specific social issues, such as poverty reduction, hunger alleviation, or environmental sustainability. This helps companies demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility and make data-driven decisions about their volunteer programs.

Encouraging employee volunteering is not only beneficial for the community but also for the employees and the company. It creates a win-win situation where everyone benefits, and the impact can be significant. The benefits for employees include personal and professional growth, improved job satisfaction, and team-building skills. 

The community benefits from important needs being met, stronger relationships between companies and local communities, and a culture of volunteerism.

The company benefits from deepening their alignment with their corporate social responsibility goals and values, boosting productivity and building stronger relationships with the community. It also improves the brand reputation and public relations of the company. 

Encouraging employee volunteering can be done through various ways, including offering paid time off, partnering with nonprofit organisations, providing volunteer opportunities that align with company values, and celebrating and recognising employee volunteer efforts. By implementing these strategies, companies can create a positive impact not only on their employees and the community but also on their financial position. Employee volunteering is a powerful way to build a sense of purpose, meaning, and connection, which can lead to a positive company culture and higher employee engagement.

About Rosterfy

Rosterfy exists to connect communities to events and causes they are passionate about through volunteer and paid workforce management technology. Our proven end to end technology allows charities, events and nonprofit organisations to recruit, register, screen, train, manage and report with ease, replacing manual processes with automations to better engage and retain your volunteers and paid staff.

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