The holidays are not only a time for giving — but for giving back. Volunteering outside of work is one way to do that, of course, but it isn’t always easy for busy professionals to find the time.
There is an obvious downside to your employees being unable to schedule time for volunteering: Philanthropic organizations in your community, and the people and causes they serve, miss out on much-needed extra support. But there is something else you may not have considered: Your workers lose a valuable opportunity to improve their sense of well-being and effectiveness at the office.
That’s right. By volunteering outside of work, your employees can perform better at work. A recent Robert Half survey found that 61 percent of U.S. workers believe that taking part in philanthropic activities outside of the office enhances their wellness — for example, by helping them find better work-life balance. This, in turn, allows them to be more effective while on the job.
A helping hand for helping hands
Giving your employees time to volunteer can also have a positive impact on your firm’s ability to attract top talent. “Managers may find that encouraging their employees to volunteer is a beneficial recruitment and retention tool,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. “Many professionals value the chance to give back to causes that are important to them and their community.”
Happy workers will be more likely to stay with your organization for the long term. You’ll also likely find many potential hires, particularly from Generation Y and Generation Z, will want to know whether your organization helps employees to give back. In fact, it’s important for employers to note that respondents to our survey who identified with these two demographic groups were more likely to report that they donated their time to volunteer activities.
The value the youngest workforce group places on philanthropy echoes findings from Robert Half’s Get Ready for Generation Z report, which showed these employees will accept lower pay to work for a cause they care about. Many of these professionals, and others, want to work for businesses with a good reputation that engage in activities and support causes that are meaningful to them.
Doing good works and earning goodwill
In addition to providing more flexible scheduling arrangements so that your employees can find time to volunteer, you may want to consider increasing your organization’s direct involvement in the community. It can help you build goodwill for your firm, including among people who may not be familiar with your business. And, of course, it will provide the opportunity for your organization and its workers do good things for others in need, which is what giving back is all about.
Here are three ways to get started:
1. Focus on select local organizations.
No matter the size of your firm, your business does not have infinite resources. So you’ll want to be selective in terms of the number of organizations you choose to support. Ask your employees for their recommendations, and consider setting up a formal committee to research organizations and find out which ones would benefit most from the donations of time and other resources by your business and its workers.
2. Make it a team effort.
As they say, there is power in numbers. Encourage all of your employees to take part in at least one of the causes your business elects to support. You can also help to amplify your workers’ efforts for charitable activities outside of work, too, by establishing matching gifts or grant programs.
3. Look beyond the holidays.
Don’t wait for a “season reason” for your business to make a positive impact in your local community. There are a wide range of service opportunities available to your firm and your employees throughout the year — from park cleanups to afterschool programs to athletic events for a good cause.
Giving back is good, so you and your employees should strive to do so all you can, as often as you can. Your community will thank you. And as our research shows, your workers will be grateful, too.
Strengthening Your Business Network Through Volunteering: One way that many executives build their business and careers through professional networking is by volunteering. This post explores just a few ways that philanthropic work enables business leaders to help their business and grow their careers.
Is Corporate Citizenship a Priority at Your Business? If Not, Here’s Why It Should Be: There are many benefits to being a company with strong corporate citizenship practices. This post provides an overview of why corporate citizenship is important, and offers tips for developing a formal corporate citizenship program.
2015 Robert Half Corporate Citizenship Report: Learn about the many ways that Robert Half supports communities. It might help to inspire some ideas about how your business and employees can give back, too.