Originally posted on Forbes
Millennials and Gen Zers are increasingly values-driven, with nearly half (46%) of those in senior positions saying they’ve rejected a job or assignment based on their personal ethics. With so many prioritizing purpose rather than just paychecks, creating a company volunteer policy is one way you can encourage employees to give back to the causes that matter most to them. Here’s how you can encourage employees to volunteer—not just during National Volunteer Month in April, but all year long.
Give Dedicated Days Off For Volunteering
As reported by Harvard Business Review, research has shown that companywide volunteer programs can increase employee satisfaction, engagement and retention. One study “found that 93% of employees who volunteer through their company report being happy with their employer.”
While volunteering has a whole host of benefits, it can be difficult to find time to do so—especially when you have a full-time job. When I started Xpedition, I wanted to alleviate some of that struggle by giving employees dedicated hours to spend volunteering with the nonprofit of their choice. We currently give full-time employees 16 volunteer hours a year, which allows them to spend time volunteering without needing to use any of their regular paid time off.
Having a set volunteer policy makes it easier for employees to pursue the causes nearest to their hearts and feel more connected to your company’s mission.
Encourage Employees To Share Their Favorite Nonprofits
With more than 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S., it can be difficult to home in on which organizations to volunteer with. To make it easier for employees to decide where to use their volunteer time, ask them to share their favorite organizations. You can then compile the suggestions in an internal document on your team server for easy access. If you’re a remote company, you can also list the location of each nonprofit so employees can easily find the opportunities available near them.
Your team can also use websites like VolunteerMatch to find nonprofit opportunities near them that align with their interests and values. Refer to Charity Navigator for a comprehensive overview of how the nonprofit is allocating its financial donations. Your human resources team might also want to look into your team’s recommendations to ensure that the stated values of each nonprofit align with your company values.
Highlight Some Of Those Organizations Externally
After compiling a list of nonprofits recommended by your team members, think of ways you can share those organizations with your company’s audience. You can post on your blog about your employees’ favorite organizations or showcase their top picks on social media. Sharing information about your team’s chosen nonprofits on your website and social media accounts is a great way to raise awareness of deserving organizations and inspire employees to use their hours. (Include a disclaimer that the recommendations are those of individual employees and do not represent the opinion of your company as a whole.)
Plan An In-Person Volunteer Day
Last year, in addition to giving our employees time off that they could use to volunteer with the organization of their choice, we also planned a day for those in the Los Angeles and Orange County area who wanted to volunteer together. Since we’re a remote company, the in-person volunteer day helped our team build deeper connections while working together for a good cause. We plan to organize additional in-person volunteer days so our remote team can spend more time volunteering together.
By making it easier for employees to find and volunteer with organizations that resonate with them, you can help create a more engaged and purpose-filled work environment.