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How Volunteering Drives Your Workforce – and Company – Forward

Research shows time and again, that time spent volunteering by employees actually ends up benefiting the organization by improving workplace culture and driving engagement.

According to Cone Communications, 75% of employees agree their job is more fulfilling when opportunities to create a positive impact exist. Another 51% say they won’t work for a company without a strong commitment to a positive social and environmental impact.

That’s a big cut of the workforce – including top talent – your company may be potentially losing when volunteer opportunities aren’t offered.

Volunteer programming

According to Deloitte, skills-based volunteering presents employees with an opportunity to develop professional and leadership skills, increasing productivity and retention.

Creating a volunteer program is one such way to help employees give back based on their skills and personal interests. It can be as simple as a quarterly drive to help a nonprofit within the community, or as complex as a monthly ambassador program for motivated employees to develop their skills through serving.

Skills needed

Aligning values with skills can influence both your employees and others. For example, employees of Mars Incorporated, the company behind the pet brands Pedigree and Banfield Pet Hospitals, spent a week in New Orleans working in a free vet clinic and providing educational programs to schools.

Giving employees opportunities year-round to showcase their skills beyond the workplace can inspire them on a greater level than just professionally.

But when is the best time?

Weekend fun

Many companies are customer-facing and, therefore, are unable to afford to interrupt service – or close their doors altogether – during the workweek.

If that is your organization, consider encouraging voluntary weekend opportunities for co-workers to get together and make an impact on their community. This can increase collaboration among teams within your workforce, as employees learn to trust one another as they give back together.

Allowing employees to recommend an activity can help provide growth and development, and allow team members to feel involved regardless of their position on the team.

Another option is to host supply drives, allowing employees to donate materials to an organization in need. Who knows? Maybe you could add a little friendly competition in there. Perhaps the department with the most supplies wins a free lunch?

Weekday joy

For companies that can do so, taking a day out of the office to volunteer can not only give members of your workforce a brain break, but increase self-awareness.

Consider offering time off to employees to volunteer for causes near and dear to them. This will motivate employees to actually use time off given (52% of employees reported having unused vacation days in 2018, according to the U.S. Travel Association) and allow them to feel inspired by making a positive impact.

Although no two businesses are alike, the point remains the same: Volunteering and influencing the community drives productivity and creates an inspired and driven workforce.