Fulfilment, meaning and giving back. Not things many employees would’ve always agreed they got from their roles, unless they worked in the private or public sector.
However, that’s now changing. Increasingly more today than ever before, the younger workforce – Generation Z and millennials – not only want, but expect, their employers to provide workplace environments where they can achieve these things.
The traditional perks of gym memberships, company health plans and bonus schemes are not enough for these two generations. They’re looking for a more rewarding, engaging and meaningful workplace experience.
Aside from just being a ‘good thing to do’, companies that offer paid time-off for volunteering can attract and retain top talent, boost productivity, instil a sense of purpose and meaning in employees, and go some way to improving the employee engagement challenge.
Here’s some of the business benefits.
Research by Great Place to Work looked at thousands of employee surveys from companies on its 50 best Workplaces that Give Back list and revealed that workers at these organisations say they’re more likely to stay with their employer for a long time as a result of the company’s voluntary programmes.
“When employees are actively involved in giving back it can lead to a deeper commitment and connection to the work,” explains Elizabeth Stocker, a consultant at Great Place to Work.
Employees at firms with volunteer days are proud to tell others where they work.
They’ll share with friends and family about their paid-time off to volunteer, even posting on social media about their volunteering activity.
All of which further enhances the organisation’s status in the community and raises the profile of the business, particularly amongst prospective employees.
Having a charity or cause that your company donates to, will certainly go some way to meeting Gen Z and millennials’ need for your business to do social good, but companies that go one step further than just donating, by providing employees with actual opportunities to volunteer get even better payback.
By letting employees guide charitable efforts and get hands-on with volunteering, even choosing where and when to volunteer, makes them feel empowered.
It creates high levels of commitment and pride among workers and their teams.
When whole teams participate in a worthwhile activity for a good cause, even just for a day, a sense of teamwork is fostered.
Pulling together for a common goal, especially when it’s for a charity or community project, enables employees to bond and support each other.
Once built, this sense of teamwork can continue back in the workplace with a renewed sense of commitment to one another.
Volunteering projects can enable employees to learn and develop new skills.
Off-site projects with charitable organisations can open up a whole new skill-set for an employee, enabling them to try things they’ve never experienced before.
Learning a new skill adds to a person’s sense of worth, can boost their motivation, make them feel valuable and positively affect their overall wellbeing.
Company volunteer programmes can also be a great way for managers to see which team members might make future business leaders.
A team volunteering day can be an ideal environment to discover who has a natural aptitude for leading and should be put on a fast-track management programme, or which members of staff might be in line for promotion when it comes to succession planning.
Companies who offer volunteering days or schemes report a reduction in sick leave as employees want to work for a company that values them and gives back.
They feel more satisfied, motivated, so staff morale is higher.
As the ratio of Gen Z and millennial workers increases, companies will find it increasingly difficult to differentiate through the traditional perks of fancy offices, high salaries and health plans.
Those that align to the values of the new working majority – who place a greater emphasis on their personal time, flexibility and making a difference in the world – will attract the best minds and do the best work.
And this will ultimately have an impact on their organisation’s bottom line.You will also find that if your organisation is promoting working from home, or hybrid working, then having an ethos of encouraging volunteer days and projects, will help with team working and interaction between employees