Increasingly, today’s employees are entering the workforce with an expectation that volunteering will be a part of their professional careers. Millennials, specifically, are already very accustomed to volunteering and tend to gravitate toward companies that have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. These young employees have grown up with volunteer requirements through most of their teen to young adulthood years. They needed volunteer hours in order to graduate high school, qualify for scholarships and have been taught their entire lives to be aware of the environment and others. They’ve discovered what we all know to be true, that volunteering brings about a healthy outlook and takes the focus off of us and directs it towards others.
Of course, we all know that attracting and retaining great talent is the lifeblood of any business. So it would make sense for companies wanting to attract top talent to build volunteer programs into their workplace if they are to looking to recruit and retain the best talent available. In fact, an important motivation for companies to take on volunteer programs is the large population of millennials in the workforce who are demanding these volunteer opportunities as they look for jobs. Studies have shown that this younger generation says that a volunteer program would be a factor “when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay and benefits.” Millenials, specifically, want to know the companies they work for will let them express their values while on the job. In addition, it has been found that employees who do volunteer through company initiated volunteer programs are very loyal toward their company, proud to work there, satisfied with their employer, and likely to recommend their company to a friend. Additional information indicates that those who participate in a company’s volunteer program are more than twice as likely to rate their work culture as “very positive,” as compared to those who don’t volunteer.
Creates Purpose and Meaning: “Community volunteering is very important for employees who seek a higher purpose in life and look for meaning,” says Khadija Al Arkoubi, an assistant professor of management at the University of New Haven: “Companies that allow it (volunteering) improve their employees’ engagement and well-being,” he says. “They also develop their soft skills including their leadership capabilities.”
Creates Teamwork and People Skills: A UnitedHealth Group study found that 87% of people who volunteered in the last year said that volunteering had developed teamwork and people skills, and 81% agreed that volunteering together strengthens relationships among colleagues. What’s more, four out of five employed people who volunteered in the past year say that they feel better about their employer because of the employer’s involvement in volunteer activities.
Creates Positive and Healthier Employees: Volunteerism positively impacts employees’ health. According to a volunteering study conducted by UnitedHealth Group, 78% of people who volunteered in the last year reported lower stress levels, and 76% say that volunteering has made them feel healthier.
With busy schedules it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to your employees and organization. Volunteering doesn’t have to take over to be beneficial. In fact, research shows that just two to three hours per week, or about 100 hours a year, can confer the most benefits—to both your employees and the chosen cause. Above all, remember that volunteering should feel like a fun and rewarding hobby, not another chore on your employees to-do list.
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