5 Reasons Why You Should Offer Volunteer Time Off

By Kelsey Hawkins, Guest Author
employees meeting to plan volunteerism

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is on the rise. Just 20 years ago, CSR was virtually unheard of; now it is an integral part of many corporations around the world. In recent years it has become more important to employees and consumers alike that the companies they support are making a positive impact on the world around them.

When many hear the term Corporate Social Responsibility, they may think of big corporations writing huge checks to charitable organizations, but companies of all sizes have come up with increasingly innovative ways to give back to the community that go beyond monetary support.

One of the best ways a company can show its dedication to their community is by offering volunteer time off, or VTO, to its employees. Volunteer time off can be incredibly beneficial to both the company and its employees. VTO is a valuable tool that allows companies to share their values, increase employee satisfaction, and make a positive impact on the community.

Here are 5 key benefits of offering a VTO program.

 

1. Retain Millennials and Other Socially Conscious Employees 

In recent years, employees have become more socially conscious than ever before. For many of them, a company with impressive earnings and generous benefits just isn’t enough anymore. A big contributor to this trend is the increase in the number of millennials in the workplace. As of 2018, millennials are the largest group represented in today’s workforce. Millennials are often categorized as socially conscious, but less likely to remain in the same position for longer than two years. With such a high turnover rate, companies have had to get more creative in their ways of attracting and retaining millennials.

Around two-thirds of millennials say they consider a company’s social and environmental impact when deciding where to work. Socially conscious companies that offer a VTO program often have higher employee retention rates than those without a focus on CSR. Employees tend to feel more loyalty towards companies that mirror their values and make positive contributions to the community.

 

group of employees volunteering together serving lunch


2. Create a Positive Image for Your Company

In today’s world of social media, it is easier than ever for a company’s actions to land them in the news. This can be good and bad. Social media can leave even the most impressive companies vulnerable to the often harsh court of public opinion. Though this can make it more difficult for a company to manage its own image, it can also give them an opportunity to display their positive contributions

By asking employees to share the stories and photos chronicling their company-sponsored volunteering, they improve their public image through organic social media mentions. By showing their community service projects to the public, companies can attract potential employees, gain exposure, and garner goodwill.

 

group of employees volunteering to pick up trash at a park


3. Boost Employee Morale and Engagement 

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, employee engagement was up to 34%, a record high. But, this also means a staggering two-thirds of American employees are not engaged. Forbes defined employee engagement as an employee’s emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. Allowing employees to volunteer on behalf of the company can foster a deeper connection between them and the company.

In addition to boosting employee engagement for individuals, allowing employees to volunteer together can improve their efficiency as a team and strengthen their relationships.

 

employees volunteering together to sort donations


4. Build Connections Within Your Community 

VTO programs provide excellent opportunities for employees to act as ambassadors for their companies in the local community. By giving back to local charities, a company can form long-term partnerships with organizations that often serve as the pillars of many communities. This can establish a network within the local non-profit community that can open a company to volunteer opportunities that they may not have previously been aware of.

 

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5. Allows Employers to Turn Their Values into Action 

Most companies have a mission statement that outlines their values and objectives, but far fewer display those values in their actions. Creating a volunteer program that helps organizations that align with a company’s value system is a great way to show consumers and employees that they are serious about community investment. It is also an opportunity to show a genuine interest in the groups a company serves. For example, a dog food company might have employees volunteer at the local Humane Society or an animal shelter. This would be a perfect opportunity to network with potential customers and use their products for good.
 

 

Kelsey Hawkins is a contributing writer and media specialist for North American Van Lines. She regularly produces content for a variety of informational and lifestyle blogs.