By RedBalloon for Business

How to create a workplace volunteering culture

A corporate volunteering program (CVP) is not only a great way for your business to give back, but it can also be a powerful tool for employee engagement. It’s a win-win-win strategy: good for employees, good for the community, and good for business.

Finding greater meaning and satisfaction at work

Gallup estimates that in the UK, employees who feel unengaged at work cost employers upwards of $64 billion every year. In the United States, that number jumps to $350 billion.

Here in Australia, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey found that employees who are more committed to their organisations put in 57% more effort on the job and are 87% less likely to resign.

A Macquarie Graduate School of Management study found that workplace volunteering leads to improved employee engagement, organisational commitment, job satisfaction and retention. Employees in a corporate volunteer program scored significantly higher than non-volunteers on all measures of engagement with their organisation, as well as on most measures of job satisfaction. They were also significantly more committed to remaining with the company than those who did not volunteer. The common theme in the study’s findings was the sense of meaningfulness that employees seek. The most important motivation to participate in workplace volunteering was “It makes my work more meaningful”.

Volunteering may also be key to engaging younger employees; a Deloitte survey found that millennials who frequently participate in workplace volunteering activities are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees, as compared to those who rarely or never volunteer.

Benefits to business and staff

For companies, the paybacks of a corporate volunteering program are plentiful: a more committed and productive workforce; greater (and positive) brand recognition; reduced employee churn; a strengthened corporate culture; and a competitive advantage in terms of both attracting and retaining top talent.

For employees, volunteering can also present opportunities for personal and professional development. It can lead to new social connections and strengthen team bonds. Volunteering can also afford a wider view of the world, leading to greater open-mindedness, empathy and self-awareness, as well as the self-pride that comes with giving back.

Building a successful volunteer program

Ultimately, the main objective of any workplace volunteering program should be to make a real and sustained impact in the communities your business operates in. Good program management will result in more effective outcomes, as well as greater employee participation rates. Successful programs rely on internal support, staff involvement, proper risk management and building meaningful relationships with your not-for-profit partners.

RedBalloon for Business’s employee recognition and reward programs and strategies can help with the implementation of your workplace volunteer culture. Making it a part of your reward program will increase employee engagement with the program and also simplify program management in terms of communication, feedback and recognition for participation.

In order to engage employees and keep them involved consistently, volunteering programs must also be flexible so participation can easily fit around commitments. Having your corporate volunteering program be a part of your RedBalloon for Business reward program lets you customise reward opportunities that suit your staff.

When effectively implemented and managed, with incentivising rewards for participation, a workplace volunteering program will deliver untold returns for employees, business and the community.

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