Will Company-Wide Volunteering Work for You?

As a recruiter you’re always looking for strategies that will help you improve your employees’ working experience without adding to your bottom line. And when it comes to recruiting and building loyalty, unusual benefits like paid volunteering are increasingly popular, especially among the coveted Gen Y demographic.

So when Deloitte surveyed hundreds of corporate managers at companies with thousands of employees and found that 64 percent of them feel confident that corporate citizenship produces a tangible contribution to the company bottom line, it became fair to wonder what the impact of a giving program would be for your company.

Whether you’re interested in offering volunteer time-off programs or company-wide volunteer days, your questions remain the same: Do these programs impact morale? Are they seen as a perk by employees? Are there any tangible business benefits?

Here’s a look at three important things to understand about company giving trends and whether they can help you figure out if they’re right for your company.

1. Company Giving Helps Attract and Identify Promising New Recruits

There are two distinguishing characteristics that make the practice of company giving especially valuable to companies looking to recruit younger employees.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that 88 percent of Millennials gravitate towards companies with established volunteering programs or “corporate social responsibility” programs.

Offering a company giving program, whether that means volunteer time off or company-wide volunteering events, indicates to prospective hires that you’re interested in their personal growth and who they are outside of their job description. With an established company giving program, you’ll not only attract more Millennials, but you’ll also have a better chance of keeping them.

Company giving can also help you identify top performers in terms of attitude in the workplace and willingness to give of their time. Both individual volunteers and company-wide volunteering can help you better understand what drives a candidate or employee and identify performance markers for more strategic and long-lasting promotions.

2. Company Giving Gives an Added Edge to Diverse Environments

With the ever-increasing emphasis on diversity in the workplace, you’re working hard to create a team of individual members with different backgrounds, perspectives and experience. But while diversity helps you remain competitive in your industry, it can also lead to a more isolated or hesitant workspace simply because the only thing they have in common is an employer.

Company-wide volunteering provides an opportunity for your employees to come together and achieve a common goal that isn’t related to job functions or history. You’re providing a no-pressure zone for building common ground and learning to work as a team. When you sponsor company-wide volunteering days you’re creating a new, shared history for your diverse employees. Employees come together outside of the usual business hierarchy and see that they can build something in common.

3. Company Giving Won’t Heal a Hurting Environment

Just one word of warning: with all of the positive growth associated with company giving, don’t think that company giving is a panacea for an increasingly toxic workplace.

If you have serious problems to work through, such as high turnover or low morale, company giving programs will only worsen those feelings of resentment and discontinuity between what your employees really need and what you are willing to give them. You’re better off investing resources to improve communication and morale within the workplace than offering elective volunteer opportunities.

If you’re considering whether or not to include company giving as part of your company’s paid benefits, there’s no one right answer. If you’re looking to help a good team get better or create common roots among a new team, then company giving will definitely reap productivity rewards. But it certainly won’t solve any ongoing problems in the workplace. At the end of the day, the answer is much the same as applying any other new ideas for your work environment: it’s up to each HR professional to decide whether or not it’s a good fit.

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