Employee Volunteer Days – Worth the Investment? By Carson Leith
Should you really skip a day of regular office work and send your employees out to volunteer? This is a good question to be asking, as lost time may equal lost opportunity. But let’s explore for a moment the potential benefits of volunteer days and see if they’re worth it. Let’s take a look at how workplace volunteering impacts productivity and employee engagement.
1. A change of pace increases happiness and productivity. Think about it. Remember back in school when you’d go on field trips? Those were probably the most exciting times for any elementary schooler. It was a time to get out of the classroom, explore, and stimulate your mind as you learned about the world around you. The mood almost always lightens on field trips and you start to see different sides of people come out. The energy of the group increases, thereby making it into a productive day of learning, connection, and advancement. Volunteer days have the same results. Once you get people out of their cubicles, you start to see a different side of them. People feel a sense of energy and excitement. The change of pace revitalizes them so that when they get back into the office, they produce quality work at a faster rate.
2. Volunteering connects employees to each other. If you get people on a project together that takes place outside of normal day-to-day operations, you’ll be surprised at what you find. It’s easier to bond and develop friendships when outside an office environment. People are more relaxed and free to open up and share with each other. The formation of these new teams helps your employees develop stronger working relationships. This translates into a stronger team bond when you get back into the office. Business is built on the strength of your team, which should make volunteer days an important part of your employee engagement strategy.
3. Volunteering develops leaders and increases people/business skills. In fact,Forbes puts forth the idea that employees should be allowed to share about their volunteerism during annual reviews. If you make volunteering a part of your official performance review, you can evaluate and recognize employees for charitable work done outside the office. This helps increase participation rates, and gives team members the extra motivation necessary to invest time in serving the community. Try exploring pro bono work as well, and see if there’s a way for your people to use their specific skills for good.
4. Volunteering helps people feel a sense of purpose beyond their daily work. When you give people the opportunity to serve the world in a unique way, they feel more connected to the organization and more valued for the difference they can make. In an LGB Associates Survey regarding employee volunteering days, 71% of employees reported feeling more positive toward their company after participating. This feeling of positivity directly correlates to a boost in future performance and therefore, a boost to your bottom line.
If you and your team have stories about how Volunteering has impacted your organization, we’d love to hear about them! Share them with us on Twitter and tag @cotribute.