Corporate social responsibility is a growing and important area for companies to consider. Offering employees the flexibility and support in participating in volunteer activities has tangible benefits to the community and company. While some business benefits are hard to quantify, we cannot deny the fact that encouraging community involvement increases the scope and value of the company’s network and reputation, and stimulates engagement of employees.
Culture, engagement, recruitment and retention have emerged as top issues for business leaders in this era of heightened corporate transparency, greater workforce flexibility, and severe skills shortages. As such, employers may want to consider encouraging employees to volunteer as an under-rated component in addressing these issues. If you are a business that cares about recruitment and retention of quality employees, building brand respect, and improving the community, consider implementing a volunteerism policy.
A Culture of Caring Stimulates Recruitment and Engagement
Employees want to be part of an organization that contributes to their community and the larger society. When considering job opportunities, applicants seek companies that are aligned with their own values. Having a strong corporate culture that provides employees paid time for giving back to the communities in which they live and work, is sought after by candidates today.
A philanthropic reputation improves the brand image of the company. This brand image helps to attract top talent, and makes customers feel confident investing in the company’s products or services. Research by Deloitte has found that most workers want their employers to have a strong sense of purpose that goes beyond profits.
Employees working toward charitable causes become connected to the positive impact they are making, and are provided team building and developmental opportunities. Employee engagement surveys have consistently shown that a culture of caring, supported by corporate volunteerism practices and policies, keeps engagement levels high. Employee engagement is important because it drives productivity and retention.
Corporate Partnerships with Nonprofit Organizations
Corporate partnerships with nonprofit organizations provide a lasting impact. When businesses partner with nonprofits, they invest in the community, and in their own business. Nonprofits are always looking for ways to partner with companies large and small. Many states support this partnership and often offer additional benefits for giving back. In Florida, tax credits through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity offer additional incentives to encourage private sector participation in certain projects. For example, Habitat for Humanity offers a state sales tax credit of up to fifty percent of the value of donations made toward community revitalization. Pro-volunteerism policies are a benefit to the community and employees.
Implementing a Volunteerism Policy
Businesses of any size or industry can offer this benefit to employees by implementing a volunteerism policy. A volunteerism policy outlines the benefits and guidelines of donating work hours toward a good cause. Some companies offer employees full or half-day increments of paid time to work with a charity of their choosing, or one that the company supports. These are specifications that would included in a written policy.
The amount of time that will be allotted for volunteer hours, and whether the company will offer paid or unpaid time-off for volunteering, are considerations that should be made. The company should also consider whether employees will be limited to company-sanctioned volunteer efforts. Once parameters are set, the company can decide whether a process of validating and tracking volunteer time should be in place. Lastly, the company should consider how the company will leverage the program for its branding, recruiting and retention efforts.