Engaging Employees Through Corporate Volunteering Programs
At their heart, corporate volunteering programs aim to have a positive impact on those outside your company. However, implementing these programs within your small business can have a profound effect on how your teams work together to do their jobs internally, as well.
A recent Boston College study revealed that up to 95% of employees who participated in volunteer programs were more engaged in their workplaces. And for companies with tight budgets, volunteer programs and charity initiatives can provide options that are more cost-effective.
Here’s what you should know about this practice and how it might work for you.
Choose the Right Program
With so many charities asking for help, it can be overwhelming to choose between them. To narrow down the list of potential partnerships, consider taking these simple steps:
- Get input from your employees on what issues matter most to them.
- Use a tool like CharityNavigator to find relevant causes and vet them for their legitimacy.
- Settle on three local charities and three national organizations to support.
- Ask your teams to vote on the one they’d like to partner with. If there is no consensus, consider supporting a new group each fiscal year or partnering with both a local and national group at one time.
- If possible, look for groups that have a tie to the founders, the mission statement of the company or an existing relationship to the community. Although branding isn’t everything, natural alignment is a bonus.
You can also choose to work with charities that put your existing talent pool to work. For instance, a law team could work alongside a public defense charity, and programmers could work with educational groups to teach kids how to code. Be mindful that many workers will want to use their volunteering hours as a break from daily duties. If possible, organize their charity activities so that they can flex different mental muscles.
Communicate With Your Employees and Others
To make sure your teams know how important serving others is to your brand, make sure you include that sentiment in essential statements and updates that go out to your employees. This not only tells your workers that you care about helping the community, but it also gives them a chance to see if they’re aligned with your mission. Brand reputation is often built on philanthropic endeavors, and your choice in charities can send the right message to future employees who may be deciding between similar companies. Your corporate volunteer programs affect more than your current employees and the causes they help; it can also signal to job candidates that they are a good fit for your team and that they can engage in the meaningful work that many millennials and Gen Zers are seeking.
Stay Competitive in Your Industry
Creating a corporate volunteering program isn’t just a nice thing to do — it’s expected of modern companies looking to attract young, passionate workers. If you haven’t considered how to make service a part of your brand, it’s not too late to get to work.