Sure, happy hours, softball tournaments and Secret Santa gift exchanges are fun ways to build camaraderie among employees. But recent surveys show that one of the most effective ways to promote employee health, wellbeing and boost morale is through corporate volunteer programs. Nearly 70 percent of employees who volunteer through their work feel better about their employers, according to the “2017 Doing Good is Good For You” study from United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch.
Volunteering goes beyond an employee’s feeling toward a company, it can contribute to their overall sense of life purpose— the “why am I here?” factor that can help them be more engaged in their jobs. When people volunteer, they break-up their day-to-day routine and gain perspective on how their time and efforts can make a difference. According to the 2017 United Healthcare survey of some 2,700 adults:
- 94 percent of volunteers reported an enriched sense of purpose
- 89 percent said they had an expanded worldview
A clear case can also be made for companies to sponsor volunteer programs.
- An employee volunteer program can potentially save companies $1,000 to $6,000 per employee, through reduced employee turnover.
- These programs also help build employees leadership, time management and team building skills.
How can companies best empower employees to give back to their communities?
To start, they can make time for employees to volunteer. A 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism study found that 69 percent of people are not volunteering as much as they’d like to and 62 percent said they don’t have time during the day.
But many companies are starting to offer paid time off for volunteering. A tech company gives employees six paid days off per year for giving back, which has translated to over a million volunteer hours. Other options include offering transportation to activities and designated volunteer days.
Companies can also help employees better understand that their individual efforts do in fact make a difference. In the same Deloitte study, 75 percent of working millennials said they would volunteer more often if they had a better understanding of the impact they’re making. Companies can help foster this understanding by creating an employee portal to search for volunteer opportunities in their area and to highlight colleagues who are giving back.
In a world where companies are offering competitive benefits packages to attract top talent, the recent “Doing Good is Good for You” study suggests that employers should consider volunteerism as essential to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce.
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