Learning & Development

Supporting Employee Volunteerism

In recent years, workplace volunteering has emerged as a key area of focus in the realm of corporate social responsibility, with an impressive 84% of companies in 2022 offering flexible scheduling or paid time off to support their employees’ volunteer efforts.

This trend not only underscores employers’ commitment to making a difference in their communities but also highlights a strategic approach to evolving Return-To-Office (RTO) incentives. The business benefits of these programs are clear—ranging from higher employee engagement and reduced turnover to a stronger ability to attract top talent. However, the challenge of transforming employees into long-term volunteers and corporate purpose champions persists.

Volunteering as a Reward

A recent study by Benevity sheds light on a compelling solution: the integration of rewards into volunteering programs. The research reveals that companies offering rewards see a 50% increase in average hours volunteered per employee, suggesting that incentives can significantly boost participation rates. Despite these promising findings, only 60% of companies currently use rewards as a feature of their volunteering efforts.

The question then arises: why are rewards so effective in encouraging workplace volunteerism?

Why Rewards Matter

Rewards, ranging from paid time off and matching donations to recognition programs, tap into a fundamental aspect of human motivation—appreciation. When employees feel their volunteer work is recognized and valued by their employer, they’re more likely to continue contributing their time and effort. This not only helps the communities they serve but also fosters a sense of fulfillment and purpose in the workforce.

For companies looking to enhance their volunteer programs, the key lies in understanding what motivates their employees and designing reward systems that resonate with those drivers. Whether it’s through additional time off to volunteer, financial contributions to causes employees care about, or public acknowledgment of their efforts, the right incentives can transform sporadic volunteers into dedicated corporate purpose champions.

Recognizing and Rewarding What Matters

As companies strive to navigate the post-pandemic landscape and reinforce their commitment to community engagement, the role of rewards in workplace volunteering programs should not be overlooked. By strategically implementing incentive-based initiatives, organizations can not only increase participation in volunteering efforts but also cultivate a culture of purpose, engagement, and loyalty among their employees. In doing so, they not only contribute to the greater good but also build a more resilient and motivated workforce.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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