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5 min read

How Volunteer Programs Improve Employee Retention

March 14, 2017

Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Surprising?

It’s simple: when your employees aren’t engaged, they aren’t productive, and employee retention drops. Employees may begin to explore outside opportunities if they sense that their current role with your company isn’t — and isn’t about to become — fulfilling.

According to a recent survey, one in five workers (22%) are looking to change jobs this year.

This is one of the reasons why employee retention initiatives have never been more important.

People in the office or workplace have the advantage of face-to-face contact that telecommuters don’t. You must have an engagement plan in place and execute against it if you wish to keep the team you’ve worked so hard to build and increase your employee retention rates. Beware of disconnection and a lack of proper recognition and feedback.

So, what’s a possible answer?

Volunteer programs can bring people together, give them purpose in their work, instill pride in your company, and increase their conviction that your company is doing something worthwhile in the world. Plus, you’re helping give back to your community. Are you taking advantage of all an employee volunteer program has to offer?? (Bonus: In addition to employee retention, volunteer programs also help with employee recruitment!)

Learn how Solutions by VolunteerMatch can power your employee volunteer program.

Volunteering Encourages Teamwork and Collaboration

Roughly 75% of employees rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important,” according to ClearCompany. Are you prioritizing teambuilding activities within your company?

Your team will become more productive and effective if they collaborate and work together. Why? A team is made up of a group of people, and when those people bond together and understand each other, they become better able to support each other in their work. And isn’t this what every manager or executive wishes to see happen in the workplace — a motivated, autonomous, and effective team?

Volunteer programs can create this much-needed bond. As your employees begin to work together toward a common goal in their volunteering efforts, you’ll see increased collaboration carried over into the workplace as well.

Volunteering Can Translate into Leadership Development

Not interested in helping your team members grow and advance in their careers? That doesn’t bode well for your employee retention and employee recruitment efforts.

According to Training Magazine, 83% of organizations said that targeted development for all leader levels is “important” or “very important.” Yet, only 5% have implemented solutions at all job levels.

People today are not looking for dead-end jobs. They want to explore the outer reaches of their potential and have a clearly laid out career path before them.

Volunteer programs give your workers a way to dig deeper into their personal growth, and if you’re looking to develop future leaders within your company, you’ll see your team members come to life. People that aren’t natural leaders sometimes rise to new levels, discover new talents, and gain a broader perspective on the world when they’re engaged in volunteerism.

If you want to foster more ownership from employees within your organization, volunteering may be a good way to bring this skill into fruition.

Volunteering Instills a Sense of Purpose in Your Team

Do your employees take their jobs seriously? Do they understand how important their role is in your company?

The reality is that many workers are unclear about how what they’re doing fits into the bigger picture of the business. According to one survey, 53% of employees said they wish they had more insight into how their effort affected their employer’s bottom line. This was especially true for younger employees with 64% of those ages 18-34 wishing they had more insight.

You may know how important their work is and why, but if they’re just doing the same work day-in-day-out, they’re going to lose perspective over time. And your employee retention rates will suffer.

When people volunteer, they are often in direct contact with people that have great needs. They begin to understand how valuable their time and efforts are. This gives them a mission and a sense of purpose. Again, this can carry over into their duties at work too.

Additionally, people are proud to work with organizations that are making a difference in the world. This can mean different things to different people. One survey found that 65% of people across various countries want to work for an organization with a strong social conscience.

If they don’t believe the company they’re working for is contributing to society, or isn’t trustworthy in some way, they won’t take pride in their work and will begin to feel disheartened.More than ever, people want to make a difference and give back. Volunteering gives them that much-needed outlet.


On the surface, it’s easy to see outside activities — such as volunteerism — as being a waste of time. Don’t limit yourself to this short-term thinking. When you understand that volunteering gives your team members greater purpose, leading to improved employee recruitment and retention, you’ll see that your community isn’t the only one that benefits when you encourage your workers to do give back.

Ready to grow your company's volunteer efforts? Solutions by VolunteerMatch has you covered. Learn how.

Guest post by Jon Hainstock. Jon Hainstock is the co-founder of ZoomShift, scheduling & time clock software designed for hourly employees. Jon lives in Burlington, WI with his wife Grace, and children June, Evelyn and Charlie. Connect with Jon on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Medium and Instagram.

Topics: csr
Guest Contributer

Written by Guest Contributer

This article was written by a VolunteerMatch Guest Contributor.