If this hurricane season has taught us anything, it’s that people will turn out in droves to help their neighbors in times of need.
Small business employers should be aware of this urge and encourage their workers to go out, pitch in and help. Workplace volunteer programs are a great way to get employees engaged with their fellow workers. This builds a community bond within the company that keeps workers happy, motivated and loyal.
This doesn’t have to be a one-off burst of goodwill amid emergencies on the scale of Cat 5 hurricanes. It’s as simple as letting the entire staff spend one afternoon a month at the local food bank, or cleaning up a nearby park. Studies show that group volunteer activities outside the office increases productivity inside the office. It also appeals to potential younger employees and keeps your veterans happy to stay put.
Pitching in Pumps Productivity
A 2017 survey on corporate volunteerism by Deloitte shows how employees feel the positive benefits that volunteering has on their workplace:
• creates a better working environment (89 percent of those polled),
• is essential to employee well-being (77 percent),
• improves their sense of purpose (74 percent),
• boosts morale better than company-sponsored happy hours (70 percent), and
• creates a more pleasant work atmosphere (70 percent).
The same study found that employees, especially millennials, just want to volunteer, or at least work for a company that encourages community activity. And they don’t expect to get anything out of it for themselves: Only 18 percent said they thought volunteering would help their careers, and just 36 percent said they thought they’d gain new work skills.
This is a golden opportunity for small business owners—a chance to make your company the kind of place where people will stay because they love both their daily work and the satisfaction of helping their community at the same time.
How to Make Volunteering Programs Take Flight
1. Make volunteering available company wide.
2. Make volunteering, well, voluntary.
3. Develop volunteer efforts from the bottom up.
4. Make volunteering activities hands-on.
5. Volunteering can be done on company time.
One final tip: It might be a good idea to look for volunteer experience on resumes at hiring time. Those community-minded applicants might have just the combination of dedication and responsibility a company needs.