"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention" — Oscar Wilde.
These lines ring true for company's for which volunteering is an afterthought.
With COVID-19 requiring companies to bring a paradigm shift in their work culture, it comes as no surprise that more and more companies are investing in volunteer programs to boost employee morale and engagement.
The need of the hour is investing in people and purposes right now. In 2008-2009 when the stock market crashed and billions were lost, companies that focussed on employee engagement managed to outperform their peers and come back strong again.
Company volunteer programs bring a sense of compassion to your company and benefit your employees in several ways.
In this article, we will discuss why companies cannot overlook volunteering programs.
8 Reasons Why You Should Encourage Your Employees to Volunteer
Some intriguing reasons to encourage your employees to volunteer are as follows:
Fosters team building
Many companies leverage these volunteer programs as a team-building exercise. It allows your employees to work and communicate cohesively as a team while positively impacting society.
Additionally, it helps in building camaraderie among employees, which ultimately results in team building.
Furthermore, volunteering activities connect people who share the same passion. When like-minded people achieve a charitable goal, it improves teamwork and enhances communication between team members.
Working together for a great cause can bring your employees together, make them interact, negotiate with each other, come to logical decisions and get to know each other while cultivating and nurturing their relationships with new people.
Helps in connecting with new people
When your employees lend a helping hand, they can make a real difference in the lives of people, animals, and organizations who need help to survive. As volunteering is a two-way street, it can positively impact your employee's overall development. By encouraging your employees to volunteer, you help them make new friends, expand their network and boost their social skills – all necessary for a fulfilling and enriching career.
- Make new friends: Volunteer programs are a great way to build and strengthen relationships with new and existing people. Apart from strengthening ties with your community, it helps your employees broaden their support network, exposing them to people with similar interests, fun activities, and neighborhood resources.
- Enhances skill set: Volunteering is an excellent activity for shy people who have difficulty communicating with others. When such employees agree to a volunteer program, they develop their social and relationship skills. Also, people who participate in volunteering activities can develop and build on their leadership skills. Once your employees have such a platform and momentum, it's easier to branch out, learn new skills and hone the existing skill set.
Ensures mental and physical well-being
Volunteering is a selfless act and can prove beneficial for the body and mental health in the following ways:
- Lowers blood pressure: According to research by Carnegie Mellon University, volunteering can lower down blood pressure.
- Wards of depression and loneliness: The feeling that your employees are not lonely and working towards a better cause can help fight depression and loneliness. Social activities make people more socially connected that wards away the feeling of being lonely.
- Increases happiness: According to a study, people who volunteered were more satisfied, happy and rated their overall health better than those who didn't volunteer. The rule here is simple: the more you give, the happier you will feel.
- Boost self-confidence: When your employees perform activities to benefit society, it provides them with a sense of accomplishment. This improves employee's self-confidence, which gets reflected in their job-related tasks.
- Ensures physical fitness: Walking around a shelter home or distributing food to the needy requires employees to do more than sitting on a couch or at a desk. This ensures the physical fitness of your employees. Furthermore, volunteering at any activity that requires physical energy may be more fulfilling than taking a walk alone in a garden.
- Lowers risk of early death: As volunteering gives a sense of pride, it can reduce stress levels to a great extent. According to a study, volunteering can lower the risk of early death by 24%. So, start encouraging your employees to volunteer from the minute they join your organization.
Volunteering will give your employees the tool they require to be a healthier, happier, and mentally strong workforce.
Develops employee character trail
Humble, helpful, gracious, compassionate, and empathetic are a few qualities of employees who volunteer. In your organization, when you encourage employees to participate in volunteering programs, you foster these characteristics in them. It helps in building a character trail of employees working in your organization.
Slowly, such characteristics can become a part of your organization's culture, thereby giving employees a work environment where they can do more than complete their job-specific tasks. This helps in improving their productivity.
Such programs are a must in large corporations where job title or employee number helps in recognizing an employee. And, volunteer programs can make your employees feel wanted.
Brings fun and fulfillment
Success in the workplace and career depends on how well your employees can balance their work-life. Bringing a volunteering experience and encouraging employees to participate in it brings more fun and fulfillment in life.
When your employees dig themselves in activities that bring joy, purpose, and pleasure, they automatically feel motivated and encouraged to excel at everything they pick. This renewed motivation and vision can help employees bring a much-needed change in their professional and personal lives.
Furthermore, when employees are constantly glued to their computer screen, encouraging participation in such philanthropic activities can help them make time for hobbies outside of their work. For example, you could ask employees with desk jobs to help plant a community garden or encourage their participation in a senior citizen shelter home. It would give your employees a break they have been longing for.
Increases employee engagement
Volunteer programs offer much more than employee engagement; it results in work passion.
Encouraging your employees to dig into their passion during working hours can convert their passion into an engagement. Such employees are more engaged in their work because you help them explore their passion and encourage them to work towards it.
By doing so, you promote a purpose-filled work environment that encourages employee's engagement and loyalty.
Also, such employees are more likely to become brand ambassadors eager to share their experiences and openly speak about their positive experiences with your organization.
According to research conducted by the University of Georgia, employees who volunteered gave more time and effort to their job and spoke positively about their company than others who didn't volunteer for any program.
Redefines company's image
The image or reputation of your organization is something that gets you new clients and helps in retaining the existing ones. Today, customers or clients prefer doing business with companies actively involved in different philanthropic activities.
For any organization, brand image is everything. Therefore, when you decide to give back to society, it improves your company's image.
You come across as a brand whose sole purpose is not to generate profits but to consider others and go the extra mile to bring a positive change in society.
Even your competitors will see you as a brand that offers both time and resources to help those in need. Furthermore, employees prefer working in an organization that believes in performing compassionate acts. It increases employee morale, decreases employee retention, and redefines your company's brand image.
Works like an employee benefit
Apart from bringing a change in society, a volunteering program can provide your employees with extra leaves. With one in four companies offering volunteering time off (VTO), it's a great way to provide an extra employee benefit. Interestingly, according to a study, employers offer one to five paid VTO per year to employees who participate.
Clubbing benefits or perks with volunteering programs is a great way to enhance employee engagement and increase retention in your workplace.
Cultivating a sense of purpose
Encouraging and motivating employees to join your corporate volunteer programs is easier than you think.
Today, employees want to know that the organization they patronize and work for can stand for a cause other than generating profits. When you provide an environment and culture where you give preference to volunteer programs, your employees are likely to stay more productive and stay longer with your organization.
It's probably the right time to pull your socks and invest in a volunteer program because it's beneficial for society, your company, and, more importantly, your employees.
It would benefit your business to start and implement a volunteering program to make an impact on your bottom line and attract a workforce that shares the same value as your company.
Encouraging participation in such activities could be a motivator your employees have always been looking to enhance their workplace performance.
Are you ready to kickstart your company's volunteer program? How are you planning to create your volunteer program?
Do share your thoughts with us!