Submitted by Pamela Hawley
Volunteering can do more than make you feel good - it can also help strengthen your company. Volunteering is a key part of any Corporate Social Responsibility program, and can improve your corporate culture in many ways. It shows what your company stands for, improves employee attraction/retention, encourages employees to work together, and enhances corporate brand image. If you haven’t guessed it already, all of these factors help your company’s bottom line while also serving the community.
Instils Company Values
Volunteer work is a great way to show employees your company’s core values and objectives. With this kind of volunteer program, your company can be strengthened by the cohesive values instilled in employees. Not only are employees more aware of the mission that your company is pursuing, they will also appreciate their company-organized involvement in relevant community work. Apart from providing a break from your employees’ regular schedules, volunteer work will foster motivation in the workplace under the precedent of working for an impact-minded company.
In order to do this, create volunteer opportunities based on your company’s aim. It sounds simple. But you can’t just react to a crisis, or have your foundation give money and expect that to build your CSR brand. It’s not that easy. Any good CSR program develops from starting with your company’s goals. It’s in your company’s speaking and living: the message – what your company speaks – and in practice, how your company lives on the ground. Your company’s values should be shown not just through formal communications and events, but also through the actions of every person and employee who represents your company in the day-to-day life of the community.
Helps Attract and Retain Employees
Involvement in volunteer programs has also been shown to help attract and retain employees by providing workers with a sense of meaning and satisfaction with their company as a whole. A Millennials Survey done by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that “59% of Millennials gravitated toward companies with pronounced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.” CSR is in your language from the minute you start recruiting. It’s about how your products are socially responsible. Your CEO and Leadership are transparent. Your company is honest, and has a specific brand halo around its integrity. And then, yes, it is about how much your employees can give and volunteer, and how much product your company gives and how much your leadership endorses it, believes it, lives it. These qualities are attractive to potential employees and could be the factor that makes someone choose to work for your company over another company.
Employees are seriously motivated by a desire to give back to the world, and increasingly seek out employers that allow them to participate on company time. Research from the Cone Communications shows that 74% of employees say that their job is more fulfilling when given the opportunity to make a positive impact at work. Smart employers, in turn, are linking altruism and ambition. By using community service partnerships to help valued employees fulfill their dreams and accelerate their careers, companies are betting that their A-team’s enthusiasm will pay off in renewed engagement and loyalty.
Generates Team Building
Team building can be extremely beneficial to your company as it facilitates communication and collaboration. Volunteer work is a great way for employees to work together outside of the office and build relationships. A key trend is that managers are organizing volunteer trips as team building exercises. Companies believe that organizing volunteer events can be some of the highest forms of team building, and, cross-business unit collaboration. So if you are a CSR professional seeking an inexpensive way to bolster company culture and team building, this is the option for you. 40% of Silicon Valley companies have 1-4 corporate sponsored events per year; and, even more impressive, 46% of companies hold 10 or more events per year. (https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/docs/1848_EF_Corp_Citizen_Report-F.PDF)
Improves Company’s Image
Volunteering helps companies enhance their corporate brand image. The community sees your company’s presence in a positive light. When they think of your company’s product, they also think of all the good you do. Both with your product, and in general. It’s important that local communities see beyond the company’s office buildings, its logo and it marketing. Company employees volunteering in the community lends a new light of visibility to companies. One that instills a sense of trust and engagement. It highlights corporate presence and brand – while helping a company’s bottom line.
To build a successful corporate entity, people have to believe that their 12- and 14-hour corporate days mean something. And while individual employees’ day-to-day work might not be in corporate foundation work, they still want to be associated with the good within your company. By incorporating volunteering into your company’s culture you will see your company grow stronger and more resilient for it. You will help your business. And you will help communities indefinitely.
“2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study.” RSS. N.p., 2016. Web. 03 June 2016. http://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2016-employee-engagement-study
“Millennials Survey.” PwC. N.p., 2015. Web. 03 June 2016. http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/talent/future-of-work/millennials-survey.html
Hewlett, Sylvia Ann. “Increase Engagement by Encouraging Employees to Volunteer.” Harvard Business Review. 11 Sept. 2009. Web. 03 June 2016. https://hbr.org/2009/09/helping-others-helps-yourself/