Volunteers: How Can You Make Them Happy And Productive?

Yes, we know, we know, some people are shocked and surprised to learn that their employees have interests and passions that don’t involve the workplace. A great many of them volunteer in support of causes that matter to them.

In the “good old days,” supporting your employees’ interests outside the workplace was an extravagance, but certainly not a necessity. The reality though, is that the face of the workplace is changing. Each generation of workers is different and has different priorities. Like it or not, Millennials are coming to increasingly dominate the workforce, and they want different things than previous generations.

They’re willing to go the extra mile for you, but in return, they expect that you’ll support them and their interests that lie outside the workplace, and for many Millennials, that means supporting their volunteer efforts.

This is actually easier than you might think. Here are a few simple things you can do that will make you look like a hero in the eyes of any of your employees who volunteer to assist causes that matter to them:

Get Involved!

Make the causes of your employees your causes too! There are a variety of ways you can go about doing this, including:

  • Holding fund drives in support of the causes your employees are volunteering on behalf of
  • Allowing paid time off in support of their volunteerism
  • Showing up yourself, rolling up your sleeves and volunteer right alongside them!

Try one or try them all. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Recognize Your Employee Volunteers

Even if it’s not practical to get involved directly, it’s easy to formally recognize your employees for their volunteerism. It could be something as simple as making a company wide announcement like, “This weekend, John, Mary, and Clifford are going to be busy volunteering at (whatever the name of the program is). If you’d like to join them, see them for details.”

Not only will it call out your volunteers for their activism, but your announcement might attract even more interest which will help further their cause, and that’s good stuff indeed!

Express Your Heartfelt Appreciation

Consider appreciation to be “next level” recognition. Instead of just making an announcement recognizing your employees, how about catering lunch for them, or giving out gift cards to restaurants near where they’ll be volunteering, so they can take a much-needed break and refuel.

If that’s too much, then what about a simple hand-written note expressing how much you value and appreciate the good work they’re doing? Or a small token of your appreciation in the form of a simple gift? All sorts of possibilities here.

The bottom line is, if volunteerism is important to your employees, it should be important to you. They are your most valuable resource, after all.