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The Importance of Having a Corporate Volunteer Program

Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” but as far as we know, Gandhi never worked in corporate America, where the 9-5 grind is more like a 12-plus hour day and there’s little time to carry on a life outside of work, let alone give to others.

Indeed, in today’s harried work environment, it is sometimes difficult to even PICK a volunteer opportunity, let alone get a good portion of your employees on board to make a meaningful difference in said organization. However, the pay-offs of volunteering truly run the gamut, with not only the charity in question benefiting, but you also building ties in the community and potentially even boosting your bottom line.

Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect if you launch a volunteer program at your company.

Showcase your company’s values:

Organizations that are in line with your core values and employees are passionate about are good places to start.

For example, Abel HR is very supportive of organizations that support children and at-risk youth. Last year, employees collected food for donation to support Isles Youth Institute (IYI) last summer. We were so impressed IYI mission of “self-reliance through education” that furthers by opportunities for leadership development, financial and health education, service learning and pathways to higher education for at-risk youth.

We are long-standing proponents of the New Jersey chapter of CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. We host golf outings and other charity events throughout the year to support this wonderful organization and are very vocal about our support for our local chapter. For the holidays, our employees held a toy drive for Toys for Tots.

Selecting a “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) “will allow your business to establish government relations, show passion for issues, and display company values to society,” according to an expert article published in Women In Business.

Redefine your company’s image:

With social media being such a large part of doing business these days, companies are working increasingly hard to cultivate a positive image. Volunteering is an easy way to improve your company’s image with both prospective employees and consumers.

American consumers—87percent of them—will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about, according to Forbes. Among the pickiest of consumers are the millennials, who are more likely than other generations to research the issues a company supports and the extent to which the company contributes.

Multiple studies suggest that consumers gravitate towards companies with a strong CSR and millennial job seekers, in particular, are attracted to companies that have strong service programs.

Create a more cohesive work environment:

It is a very rare company that doesn’t have its employees working in silos. Although often completely unintentional, it just makes sense that employees focus on their own part of the machine that contributes to running an efficient company and there is often little room for operating in teams. With this in mind, many companies structure their volunteer opportunities to also serve as team-building exercises. By allowing employees to actually work together – and on a task that isn’t work-dependent – you allow those workers that wouldn’t normally have cause to interact to actually form relationships that help build a much broader sense of comradery within your company.

Reap the benefits of increased employee recruitment, retention and engagement:

The results of multiple studies suggest that employees gravitate towards companies with strong CSR programs. Specifically, a study from Cone Research found that 79% of adults prefer to work for a socially responsible company because these volunteer opportunities give employees a “sense of purpose, and makes them feel more connected to the community and your company-wide social responsibility efforts,” according to an article on the benefits of corporate engagement posted to Charities.org.

Further, the article suggests that such volunteer opportunities – particularly those that are niche skill-based – offer a “meaningful way for employees to put their abilities to use, and give them a chance to grow and develop professional skills.” This, in turn, leads to improved employee engagement and thus reduced turn over (which we all know is incredibly costly, from both a time and financial perspective), and this is especially true with millennials.

Millennials want to work for companies that share the same values as they do and they want companies that support those efforts. Nearly two-thirds of millennial employees prefer to work for a company that has a program that lets them volunteer through work.

Creates a workforce with positive character traits:

When you think of a volunteer, you typically think of someone who is compassionate, empathetic and helpful, which are all characteristics that you would hope to see in any current – or future – employee.

By providing your workforce with the opportunity to volunteer, you are giving your workers the opportunity to cultivate these traits. This, in turn, will make your employees into an even bigger “asset to your corporation because they will be able to enhance their leadership and professional skills. Fellow employees will be more inclined to work with employees that have these qualities, and in turn, this will increase your work production,” the Women in Business article notes.

Abel can help you set up a volunteer program at your company. Ask us how at (800) 400-1968 or info@abelhr.com.

 

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