When it comes to corporate volunteer programs, employees often have the best of intentions but the worst of schedules. The “I’m too busy” anxiety has a direct impact on participation rates, causing some employees to feel that volunteering is a luxury they don’t have time for. This can have an insidious effect, making other employees question whether they should volunteer. Maybe I shouldn’t take time out of my work day to do this, they wonder; maybe it will appear to my supervisor as if I’m neglecting my job.
But LinkedIn has found that 41 percent of employers have just the opposite view; when trying to hire new talent they consider volunteer work to be as important as paid work.
Krista Canfield, Senior PR Manager of LinkedIn, explained why to POPSUGAR. "It shows that you're a passionate professional who's adept at multitasking. It's also worth noting that you can develop new skills during your volunteer work which will help you become a multifaceted professional. You may be a salesperson by trade, but perhaps you helped organize your nonprofit's most recent fundraising event. Noting that experience, and the skills that you learned during that experience ("event planning," "event marketing," etc.) can make you a more attractive employee and business partner."
It’s up to managers to not only reassure employees that volunteering is a pursuit valued by your company, but that volunteering actually helps employees become better at their jobs. Make sure employees understand that your company doesn’t view volunteering as a diversion, and that in fact you care so much about making volunteering accessible to everyone that you’ve created opportunities that don’t even require employees to leave the office.
And how do you do that? By getting creative.
- Organize a green team - Gather a group of dedicated employees to be your office’s environmental watchdogs, brainstorming ways that your company can get employees to reduce waste and energy.
- Hold a food drive - Partner with a local food pantry and gamify the challenge to bring in cans of food to donate (check out how Causecast client Dixon Hughes Goodman tripled their impact with an annual can drive that has become a fun inter-office competition.)
- Casual days for donations - Added incentive to give: offer a day of jeans and tees for a donation to one of your company’s nonprofit partners.
- Microvolunteering - Organizations like Help from Home offer myriad ways for employees to volunteer right from their desks, such as reading to underserved kids over the phone.
- Hackathon - Have a mini-hackathon where employees from different divisions come together to brainstorm a solution to a problem presented by a local nonprofit.
If you want to engage all of your employees in volunteering so that everyone feels that they’re part of your corporate culture of giving back, learn more about innovative volunteer opportunities that come straight to your employees.