Volunteering Makes for Better Workplaces

Does your company encourage you to volunteer? Does it let you do it on company time? Perhaps it should. An extensive Computerworld article points out the benefits HR departments are seeing from creating work environments in which volunteerism is promoted and acknowledged.

“Employers are increasingly more than happy to subsidize employees’ volunteer efforts outside the workplace, because they’ve noticed an undeniable link between employee volunteerism and improved collaboration and productivity on the job,” says the article. And as one HR rep puts it, “You see [employees] assisting in the community and interacting in a different environment. When they come back to work, they have a more holistic view of their peers and can appreciate how they view the world. It’s great for team-building.”

Volunteerism can also improve a company’s image in its community. Also, offering paid or unpaid time off for charity work can also help organizations attract younger, more community-minded and tech-savvy employees.

“I just interviewed two people under 30. They both asked about personal days for volunteering. Younger folks are asking about community involvement,” says Marcia Riley, vice president of talent management and human resources at ESI International, an Arlington, Va.-based training and consulting firm. “I was not asked that question 20 years ago. Younger folks are demanding this benefit, and good employers are responding.”

Successful examples abound and a little investigation into the concept can’t hurt. Anything that helps both the community and a company’s productivity is worth a look.

No Responses to “Volunteering Makes for Better Workplaces”

  1. As long a company supports and promotes volunteerism in the community, I think this is a splendid idea and provides a win-win for the employee, the company, and the community. I also think that for those companies who give employees time off to do this volunteering, this is an added bonus that provides untold dividends to the company.

    Now on the darker side of things, I have seen some companies use employees’ volunteerism to prop-up their “supposed” community image without acknowledging or crediting the employee volunteers. They promote the fact that employees from have put in so many thousands of hours and X number of employees have received the President’s Citation for Volunteerism but this is NOT acknowledged on employees reviews or to the individual employee themselves.

    In fact, in a couple of companies, employees receive a weekly reminder to enter their Volunteer Service Hours. The consequence to NOT entering the hours – even if you did volunteer – is that THIS fact is mentioned by HR in your “file.” Yes, the “dreaded file!”

    Volunteerism by employees is an individual decision and up to employee on if he/she wants to or has the time to give back to THEIR community. If a company supports this, this is an added bonus for everyone – but especially the community.

    If a company wants to take credit for employee volunteerism without “having any skin-in-the game” – unlike their employees, and for the sake of their public image and annual report, is just wrong.