When an Employee Volunteer Program is Done Right

Congrats, UnitedHealth Group!What does your company celebrate? Increased sales, perhaps, or decreased costs? Right now, UnitedHealth Group is celebrating an entirely different metric: employee volunteer hours. And we’re celebrating along with them.

The Minneapolis-based health care company just reached its 2011 goal of 250,000 employee volunteer hours. That is an average of 685 volunteer hours per day. Based on Independent Sector’s estimate for the value of a volunteer hour, the company’s employee volunteer program, UnitedVolunteers, has contributed a social value of $5,340,000 in social value since January 1, 2011. That flavor of corporate philanthropy could help anyone get well!

A Long and Beautiful Friendship

UnitedHealth Group has been a part of the VolunteerMatch network of corporate clients since 2006, and a good partner in the effort to increase engagement and community involvement. Over the past five years they have worked continuously to increase engagement and impact in their UnitedVolunteers program. In 2010 they won VolunteerMatch’s Champion of the Year Award, for having such outstanding employee volunteer managers.

Also in 2010, UnitedHealth Group partnered with us to release the UnitedHealthcare/VolunteerMatch Do Good. Live Well. Survey, a report detailing how volunteering impacts health. The results indicated that volunteers report improved physical and emotional health and that 25% of those who volunteered in the past year did so through their place of work.

Smart Strategy, Passionate People

This year is not the first year UnitedHealth Group has achieved success in their employee volunteer efforts. In 2010 they sponsored a special “Pledge 10″ campaign, which challenged employees to set a volunteer goal and make a commitment to serve at least 10 hours throughout the year. UnitedVolunteers collectively set a record for volunteer hours tracked, exceeding the goal of 145,000 tracked hours by 32%.

UnitedHealth Group developed a unique “portfolio” approach to employee volunteering to further the company’s position as a leader in volunteerism – going beyond engagement and activity to add alignment and impact. The portfolio sets three-year targets for volunteerism in the areas of chronic disease prevention and care, health and community involvement.

“Sue Osten and her team at UHG are true thought leaders in the volunteering space,” said Torrey Monnich, VolunteerMatch’s Executive Officer, Product Management & Development. “It’s always exciting to hear what new and innovative approaches they’re taking to encourage participation in volunteering.”

A Shining Example for the Community

In addition to investing time and resources in employee volunteering, UnitedHealth Group also sponsors the Do Good. Live Well initiative. It is an external program to engage consumers in volunteer projects. The company posts these projects to both their internal site for employees and to the Do Good. Live Well site powered by VolunteerMatch so the larger community can get involved.

VolunteerMatch isn’t the only one recognizing UnitedHealth group for their excellent social responsibility. The company just recently won the Best Business Neighbor Award at this year’s BCLC Corporate Citizenship Awards.

Congratulations, UnitedHealth Group, and keep up the great work!

Photo from UnitedHealth Group, Do Good. Live Well. website.

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