There are many reasons why employer-supported volunteering is good for employees, but what are the business benefits and how might they be relevant to your organisation?
We know that as a business who believes in social responsibility, you want to do the right thing for your employees, customers, stakeholders, and the environment. We also know that as a responsible business you need to consider your bottom line.
Here’s how it works brilliantly both ways.
What are the business benefits of employer-supported volunteering?
It may seem counter-intuitive but giving your employees time off to give back to the causes they care about can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
1. Employee engagement and productivity
Employer-supported volunteering can increase employee engagement rates. An engaged workforce means increased productivity, better customer service, a happier team, and delighted customers!
And the research proves it.
2. Partnership opportunities
Giving your employees time to go out and volunteer in the community could open doors for new relationships. Getting to know other businesses and charities who are operating in your area can help you understand your local market better, the problems they face, and how you may be best placed to support them.
Building partnerships and strong working relationships with third sector organisations is a great way to maximise your social impact. These organisations have the skills and understanding to address societal problems but often lack the resources. Working together on a long-term basis is so much more valuable than sponsoring one-off events.
Another benefit is that these partnerships can introduce your company to a whole new audience, thus raising your profile in the community.
3. Build reputation
The other positive result of supporting your staff to give back to the causes that help the local community is that you increase brand awareness and build your reputation among a new audience.
And don’t forget: your local community may also be your customers! People are more likely to buy from a brand that’s known to treat its staff well and support the wider needs of the community than an impersonal brand focused on profits above all else.
Remember too that if your employees feel happy and supported in their roles, they are more likely to recommend your business to friends and family and talk positively about it outside of work.
Happy customers and employees are worth more for your reputation than the flashiest, most expensive advert!
4. Develop your workforce
Volunteering is often recommended to students and young people as a way of gaining skills and experience to improve their employability. For those already in employment, it can offer valuable opportunities for personal and professional development.
NCVO’s study on Employer-Supported Volunteering asked employee volunteers what they perceived to be the main benefits of their volunteering activities. 76% of them cited learning a new skill or gaining experience.
For employees hoping to branch out into a new department, hone their skills in their current role, or simply try something new, volunteering is an ideal way to get started.
Many organisations invest significant sums in training and compulsory professional development activities. Skills-based volunteering is a great, affordable, cost-effective way to enhance that development, and the local community benefits too.
5. Recruitment and retention of the right kind of employees
It is important that your team believe in your mission.
If you want to build social impact into the core of your organisation, you need your employees to be on board and committed to achieving this together. Employee volunteering has been shown to improve employee retention and recruitment in general, and, even better, the employees who are attracted to and motivated by the chance to take up employer-supported volunteering are likely to be socially-minded and committed to your mission.
To sum up…
Offering employer-supported volunteering as part of an authentic and genuine social good strategy makes business sense and is good for the bottom line.
But beware: token gestures could have the opposite outcome. Customers and employees are wise to ‘greenwashing’ in business and will be put off by a company that is more interested in what social good can do for them than what they can do for their stakeholders and the wider community.
To succeed with social good and see any benefits, your commitment needs to be genuine, authentic, transparent, and backed up with action.
Want to get started? Please get in touch!