Companies that Promote Volunteering: Improving Internal Culture and the Community
Why it Matters
It is becoming increasingly common for companies to offer employees volunteer opportunities through their work. Now, employees not only want to work for companies that pay well and provide good benefits, but also companies who care about the surrounding community. This is becoming more important because it is something that the newer generations value.
Not only does it improve the community, but it also improves the internal workings of a company in a number of ways. It isn't costly to provide such programs; it can actually, in fact, increase productivity and profits because employees appreciate working for companies who care.
This article explores some of the benefits companies gain by having a volunteer program and explains how to create an effective volunteer program.
Lower Turnover Rates and Higher Profitability
Having a volunteer program in place increases employee satisfaction and morale, leading to higher motivation and lower turnover rates. Companies don't need to spend as much money on hiring and recruiting when they have employees who enjoy where they work.
Happy employees are also productive employees, which leads to higher profitability as well. Having employees that are engaged in the company leads to 26% higher profitability per employee, according to Realized Worth.
It Attracts Younger Generations
The newer generations pay close attention to the kind of company they work for. They value a company that makes a difference in the world more than one that pays them a high salary. Money and benefits aren't considered to be main motivators anymore. If you're interested in learning a bit more about what really motivates people, you can check out my article on motivation.
Having a healthy number of young people at a company is a good idea because they bring in new ideas and help companies understand how the newest generation operates. This is crucial because every generation is different. The newest generation will be around the longest, so the faster a company masters their understanding of them, the better off they will be. Companies who are good at adapting to changing markets have an advantage over those who aren't.
They Gain the Support of the Community
When a company gives back to the community, it shows that they care and in turn, the community will care about them as well. People have a great deal of power, and if they feel that a company is harming their community, they may harass the employees or try to get them to move. No employee wants to feel that they are disliked because of where they work, so they may feel less inclined to stay if this is the case.
If a company can successfully garner the support of the community through volunteering, they may get free advertising from the local media. This promotes a positive reputation for them and increases awareness. People may not have paid much attention to them before, but when they see the good being done, they will think more highly of their presence.
How to Create an Effective Volunteer Program
According to Points of Light, an organization dedicated to solving issues through volunteerism, there are seven steps a company can follow in order to create an effective volunteer program.
1. There must be a clear plan and goal(s) in place. The employees must understand what the program is, what the goals of the program are, why it's important, and how it will impact themselves and the community. The better the employees understand the program, the more likely they will be to actively participate in it.
2. A company must be able to measure the impact of their program in order to see if it is effective or not. If the program isn't doing what it should be doing, then the company should change it to produce the desired results.
Impact can be measured by talking to employees and whatever organization/people they are helping to determine if it is working. A company could also put a dollar value to the impact of the volunteer work employees are doing. This would allow them to see the monetary value of the work being done and determine how much their program is actually helping the community.
While the program needs to benefit the community, it's also supposed to benefit the company as well so employee moral should be measured too. If employee moral stays the same or decreases during the program, the company needs to figure why this is and fix it. Part of the reason why these programs are implemented is because they benefit the company as well, so this is not an area that should be ignored.
3. The program should be able to utilize the abilities the company has. The skills employees use at work should be transferred to a volunteer program. This shows them that their talents are valuable and can be used for more than just the good of the company. The programs companies create should allow employees to see value not only the work they do, but also in how the work they do can help others.
Types of Volunteerism
4. Leadership within the company should be heavily involved in any volunteer program created. They should actively participate in the program and encourage other employees to do so as well. As leaders, they should be a model as to what volunteering should look like.
5. If the volunteer program is set up and running smoothly, a company could benefit from partnering with a non-profit organization. This makes the support of the company well-known to the non-profit and makes it far easier to organize volunteer events with them.
6. The program should have the support of the employees. They should see the value of the program and be enthusiastic about it in order for it to succeed. One way of doing this is to offer grants to employees who use their work-related skills to better the community.
7. Recognize and celebrate the success of the program and its participants. Recognition of any sort is critical to motivation as well as program visibility. The more the employees see the good that the program is doing, the more they will want to help it grow and succeed.
How often do you volunteer?
The Civic 50
The Civic 50 ranks the top 50 companies each year that have the most effective volunteer programs. It ranks companies based off of four categories: investment, integration, institutionalization, and impact. The volunteerism programs these companies offer are worth looking into in order to better understand how a company can set up their program for success.
2. Adobe Systems Inc.
5. Altria Group, Inc.
7. Baker Hughes Inc.
8. Banfield Pet Hospital
9. Baxter International Inc.
10. Caesars Entertainment
11. Capital One
12. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
13. Citigroup, Inc.
14. Comcast NBCUniversal
15. Comerica Incorporated
16. CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer
17. CVS Health
20. Dr Pepper Snapple Group
22. Entergy Corporation
23. Exelon Corporation
24. FedEx Corporation
25. Food Lion
26. Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
27. General Mills
28. Hasbro, Inc.
29. Health Care Service Corporation
30. The Hershey Company
31. The Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company
32. IBM Corporation
34. KPMG LLP
35. MGM Resorts International
36. Motorola Solutions, Inc.
37. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
39. Prudential Financial, Inc.
40. Raytheon Company
41. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
43. Symantec Corporation
44. Tata Consultancy Services
45. Toyota Financial Services
47. UnitedHealth Group
49. Valero Energy Corporation
50. WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
© 2017 Lindsay Langstaff