Guest post by Alice Clarke
Some of the world’s largest companies offer wonderful incentives for their employees who volunteer. Deloitte is one example. According to Deloitte Consulting principal Jonathan Copulsky, more than 40,000 company employees have participated in some kind of volunteer activity. The biggest perk for these professionals? Unlimited hours of paid time off.
Deloitte isn’t the only big business that’s looking for ways to stimulate charity and volunteer projects. NuStar Energy, NetApp, Autodesk, Salesforce, Stryker, and more all offer their employees paid volunteer time off work (VTO) for participating in charity work.
There’s lots of evidence that launching such initiatives will improve your corporate social responsibility image while benefiting your company. Here are a few things you need to know if you want to reward employees with time off for volunteer work.
Understand the Benefits for Your Business
Being socially responsible is important for a lot more than just establishing the right kind of image for your brand.
According to a Fortune study, allowing employees to lead charitable efforts will result in high levels of commitment and loyalty. In addition, such activities create pride among the departments that have launched such initiatives.
The same sentiments aren’t necessarily experienced with corporate donations or other efforts aimed at helping those in need. When workers are involved in the efforts themselves, they tend to experience all of the positive emotions that stem from volunteering. Obviously, these positive attitudes will also have a profound impact on your company as a whole.
Fortune’s research even shows that people working in companies known for their volunteer culture tend to speak positively about their workplace much more than the people employed by “Great Place[es] to Work”.
The morale of the team is obviously one of the keys to enhanced cooperation, boosted productivity, and the long-term growth of the business. The benefits of providing perks for volunteer work, however, don’t end here.
It Takes Time for Great Habits to Form
Most people have an intrinsic need to give back to their community. Many, however, aren’t going to go out there and get the job done. Volunteering requires a change of habit, and many people aren’t keen on doing that.
The right perk may provide just the type of stimulus needed to form new, healthy habits.
Once teams start getting involved in charity initiatives, they’ll feel the need to keep going. Whether they’re building and painting houses or distributing food to the homeless, employees will form a deeper bond with each other. This bond will translate to the manner in which departments interact with each other and communicate on corporate issues.
There’s one more important factor to understand: today’s workforce is dominated by millennials. Many studies suggest this generation are only willing to work for companies whose values they believe in. Giving back to the local community is one of the best ways to engage the millennial workforce and increase employee retention.
How to Offer Perks for Volunteering
Now that the benefits of corporate volunteering have been established, it’s time to take a look at the best ways in which employees can be motivated to give back.
One thing you need to understand is that people who are passionate about volunteering will volunteer no matter what. Thus, in order to get volunteerism at your company going, you don’t need to provide a massive stimulus. It would simply be a nice perk on top of the efforts that people are already willing to put in community improvement. Motivating others may be a more difficult task.
Make sure everybody’s aware of the existence of your corporate volunteering program. Send internal emails to all employees and verbally talk about the causes your brand intends to support. The more you make volunteer work a part of your corporate culture, the more your employees will internalize the opportunity.
To motivate workers to become volunteers, you should give them a range of opportunities. Every person feels passionate about certain causes. It’s a good idea to build partnerships with different nonprofits and charitable foundations responsible for working with vulnerable groups or other people in need.
Finally, consider the range of incentives you’d be willing to offer.
VTO is a popular pick that employees enjoy tremendously. It’s also a good idea to recognize the accomplishments of the volunteers in the office, as well. Giving these people recognition can stimulate others to get involved as well.
One final thing to remember is that building a corporate culture of volunteerism will require time. Don’t push people too hard. Lead by example and work on establishing your business as a socially responsible one. Build ties to the local community and popularize the available volunteering work. Sooner or later, the inertia will take over.
Author Bio: Alice Clarke is a content marketer from Top Aussie Writers Reviews. She loves volunteering because it makes people more sympathetic and empathetic to one another.