Corporate Volunteerism – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Although the Great Pandemic of 2020 has finally released us all from its grip, it has left indelible marks on the landscape of the world of work.

The notion of working remotely, once a fringe idea embraced by only a few, has become mainstream.  New terms like “The Great Resignation” sprang into existence as workers around the world began reexamining and reevaluating their relationship with the workplace, which changed the work/life balance equation.

Alongside the new terms came another new phenomenon.  Employees began asking their managers to create opportunities for them to volunteer, and thus, a new era of philanthropic corporate volunteerism was born.

Granted, it’s not quite a global phenomenon yet, but it’s catching on faster than you might think, and if you’re not already embracing it, you may be missing an important opportunity.

Here’s how the idea works in a nutshell:

You, as a member of upper management or business owner, find a non-profit organization that aligns with your company’s values and mission, and you ask your employees if they have any interest in lending their talents to that organization.

For instance, if you work in a defense-related field, you might partner with an area veteran’s group that could benefit greatly from the skills of an experienced IT person or project manager, and you give those employees who are interested the time and space to go assist the organization (or organizations) in question, on your dime.

At the end of the day, this concept embraces the idea that all business is local and is a great way to burnish your reputation in the community you actually do business in.  In addition to that, although there aren’t vast troves of data on the topic yet, what studies that exist thus far indicate that companies that do this have lower turnover rates and report greater employee satisfaction and engagement levels.  That’s win-win!

Engaging in volunteer work can serve as a valuable resource for businesses to encourage employees to fully commit to the company, perform at their best, and foster a desire to remain with the organization rather than seek opportunities elsewhere.

The key thing, however, when exploring this idea, is to be sure your employees can pick and choose the projects and programs they engage with.  After all, the whole idea is about volunteering and if you force them down certain paths, then you’re running counter to the purpose and spirit of the idea, and it will work very much against you.

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s incredibly easy to tie your volunteerism program to your existing employee recognition program, assuming you’ve already got one up and running.  In fact, we’ve got an entire section of our product line devoted specifically to Volunteer Appreciation Day Gifts.

All that to say that if you haven’t yet embraced the notion of philanthropic corporate volunteerism, now is the perfect time to give it a closer look, and see if there are some deserving non-profits in your area that could benefit from the skills and expertise your employees have to offer.