Employees often want more than just their paycheck and benefits. If you feel your work matters, you’ll be happier, more productive, and more likely to stay with an organization long-term.
Corporate social responsibility goes beyond philanthropy; it empowers employees to impact their communities positively. By fostering a culture of giving, employers can enhance employee engagement, strengthen their brand, and create a positive social footprint.
This blog post explores how your employer can support and encourage you to give back to your community.
Let’s dive in!
Supporting Employee Engagement Through Volunteer Programs
Volunteer programs encourage employee engagement and community involvement. In addition, it can help attract, engage, and retain employees. Why? Because an employer that supports volunteerism says a few things about their culture.
Employers with community engagement programs:
- Provide alternative meaningful opportunities to develop skills.
- Allow employees to meet other organizations within your community.
- Encourage alternative ways of fostering teamwork and initiative.
- Provide quality time out of the office.
- Conscious of their brand’s reputation and trustworthiness.
Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that encourages growth, development, quality relationships, and balance out of the workplace?
Here are a few things you receive in return through volunteering:
- Strong work ethic – Volunteer tasks require hard work (like building houses or other manual work).
- Leadership skills – Volunteers often lead or supervise others or particular projects.
- Compassion – Serving others gives perspectives to certain difficult situations. This allows you to learn others’ viewpoints and narratives.
- Communication Skills – Volunteering involves meeting new people and other forms of social interaction.
- Commitment – Volunteering involves hard work, dedicated time, and commitment to the cause. Caring about the work you’re doing is critical.
- Problem-Solving Skills – Volunteer tasks often come with unique challenges that you may not have experienced before.
Now that you’re hooked on volunteering, let’s explore ways your employer can help facilitate.
Paid Time Off To Volunteer
Have you ever felt like there’s just not enough time in the day? Most adults have many things on their plates on top of their work duties, including providing for their family at home (making dinner, laundry, cleaning the house, etc.), driving their kids to practice, racing to pick up their child from daycare before the late fee kicks in, and it goes on and on!
It can often feel like you’re forced to choose between your work, family, and yourself. Employers that provide paid time off to volunteer (in addition to all other forms of leave) can help ease the stretch in your time clock.
Volunteer time off (VTO) is dedicated, paid time from your employer that is solely to be used for community service. This is a direct solution to the problem of employees choosing between their paid work and volunteer work to better their community.
Many types of volunteering take place during the workday. Without VTO, volunteering might not be possible for some employees.
Some ideas for employers that utilize VTO are:
- An entire day off for employees to volunteer at their location of choice.
- An entire day off for all employees to volunteer at one location.
- A half day off for employees to volunteer at their location of choice.
- A half day off for all employees to volunteer at one location.
- A “bank” of hours that any employee can utilize at any time.
For example, employees at a construction company may take a day together dedicated to building a house for a needy family. Or, a marketing firm could take a beautiful summer afternoon off to walk dogs at their local animal shelter.
Matching Gift Programs
Another way employers can assist their employees’ volunteer efforts is through gift matching. This type of philanthropy uses monetary donations rather than time.
Companies with matching gift programs will financially match donations their employees make to nonprofit organizations. The matching ratio for different employers can vary between 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, and 4:1.
Employees receive the benefit of their donation going twice (or three or four times) farther with the help of their employer. But it also can benefit the employer too, as it’s an easy way for them to support the work their employees are already doing in their communities.
Employee Resource Groups
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that work towards fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace. Their role is to provide professional or personal development support and be a safe space for employees to be their true selves.
ERGs help with community philanthropy by connecting employees with organizations or individuals in their community. In addition, they can spearhead collaborative volunteer activities that everyone can participate in.
These groups are incredibly effective at improving work conditions, making the physical work environment more suitable for everyone, identifying and developing leaders, and ultimately bringing employees together.
Community service is essential for employees and organizations. By giving back to the community you serve with your business, you’re increasing the well-being of everyone as a whole.
Advocate for corporate social responsibility and foster a culture of giving within your workplace.
Your employer may already have a community engagement program. If not, this could be your opportunity to get things started.