Heidi Funston

Ops & HR Coordinator

Team lunches, birthday celebrations and office happy hours are excellent activities to bring coworkers together, but sponsoring employee’s time to volunteer enhances team camaraderie in addition to boosting professional development. Today’s employees look to their companies to provide this growth and development, and offering volunteer opportunities benefits both organizations and employees.

Deloitte’s 2016 Impact Survey found that 66 percent of respondents whose employer currently doesn’t offer a workplace program would like their company to have one, and a high number (92 percent) agreed that volunteering improves an employee’s professional skill set. Those statistics point to a growing trend: employees are looking for broader impact in their workplace.

Here’s why (and how) you should incorporate volunteering into your organization’s calendar:

Opportunity

Company-sponsored volunteering gives employees the opportunity to donate their time when they otherwise may not have time outside of work; it also provides a great opportunity for employers to help facilitate a relationship with an organization they want to support. Not only does volunteering benefit the organization, it also improves leadership and communication skills of employees: Deloitte’s survey noted that 92 percent of respondents agree that volunteering improves employees’ broader professional skill sets.

Teamwork

Volunteering provides time away from the office, which allows employees to move conversations from work and get to know coworkers in a different environment. Working together to complete a service project allows employees to navigate and solve problems together, strengthening leadership and communication skills. Volunteering is an effective way to build leadership skills and improves the ability of employees to move into leadership positions.

Morale

Maintaining positive company morale not only boosts work productivity, but it also helps with employee retention. There are many factors that play into finding the perfect workplace, and offering volunteering opportunities is a great way for companies to maintain happy employees.

Three Ideas for You

Thinking of starting this beneficial practice at your company? Here are a few best practices to keep in mind to make your volunteer event successful:

  1. Schedule Volunteering During Office Hours: When engaging employees in company volunteering activities, it’s important to be respectful of their time. Scheduling volunteering activities during work hours allows employees to maintain a balance between their office hours and personal schedules. By doing this, employees are not being troubled to find time outside of office hours for a work-sponsored function.
  2. Be Universal in Volunteering Activities: Work diversity spans across more than just race, gender and ethnic groups. Considering physical and age-related challenges are important factors when choosing a company activity. As a company, it’s key that events be inclusive to everyone no matter age, religion or background. Choosing an organization that has universal appeal is imperative to making a volunteering activity successful and enjoyable for everyone.
  3. Growth and Development: When employees accept a position within a new company, they do so because they are looking to build on existing skills and advance in their careers. Nurturing employees’ growth and development is a beneficial way to help retain exceptional employees, and offering volunteer opportunities is one way in which organizations can help employees develop better leadership and communication skills.

Heidi Funston

Ops & HR Coordinator

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