Embracing Volunteerism

Embracing Volunteerism Can Be Good for Business

Could providing volunteer opportunities to your employees help build employee engagement?

Smart companies are continually looking for new ways to engage their workforce. They know high employee engagement is linked with a significant uplift of nearly every business performance metric, as well as strong recruitment and retention figures.

However, building engagement takes effort—and often a multifaceted approach. For many companies, volunteering is one of those facets. Here’s why: Employees who volunteer often have more positive attitudes and feel more committed to their employers. These are key components of employee engagement.

It’s worth noting that volunteering’s benefits extend well beyond a company’s bottom line. Communities benefit. Employees themselves benefit—research has found employees who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who don’t. And when volunteer opportunities provide employees with the ability to build professional skills and try out leadership opportunities, everyone—companies, employees and communities—benefits.

Forty1-Vitiello’s approach to corporate responsibility was part of what attracted me to the company. As someone who has volunteered for several community organizations since high school, I was impressed by the company’s proud history of volunteerism—a history that continues to be written. A few years ago, we established VTLO Cares, a strategic and integrated approach to elevate the company’s corporate responsibility practices for greater social impact.

Three Opportunities to Embrace Volunteerism

With so many benefits to volunteering, I’d like to share three ways companies can promote volunteerism among their employees:

  1. Organize volunteer activities

When in-person activities are once again possible, many national organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House, can support a company or department team for a group activity. Local organizations may be able to accommodate your team, too. Search your community for causes that interest you and your team. Most non-profit organizations will be more than willing to work with you to find a suitable volunteer activity.

Even if you have limited time and want to stay at your workplace, you can still do something. Gather materials ahead of time and have employees assemble toiletry kits or bag lunches for a homeless shelter. During the pandemic, you can explore virtual team activities – maybe send supplies to each team member to assemble their own kits to donate to their local shelters.

  1. Encourage individual volunteerism

Group activities may not be possible for remote teams or during a pandemic. But you can encourage employees to find their own volunteer activities. Volunteer Match, a searchable database of local and virtual volunteer opportunities, is one resource that can help.

At Forty1-Vitiello, we invite employees to report volunteer hours, and we recognize volunteer-hour milestones (e.g., 10 hours, 20 hours) with badges and mentions on our intranet. Additionally, each year on Giving Tuesday, the team member with the most volunteer hours is named Volunteer of the Year. In recognition of that honor, Forty1-Vitiello makes a monetary donation to a nonprofit organization of the volunteer’s choice.

  1. Start your own volunteer program

Companies can create their own volunteer programs. At Forty1-Vitiello, one team member wanted to help a local teacher, which bloomed into our Adopt-A-Teacher program. The program allows employees, individually or as a group, to sponsor a teacher of their choice by donating classroom supplies, volunteering time and/or providing support and encouragement. We were even able to launch the program amid the COVID-19 pandemic using many creative ways to support our teachers. For example, one of our teams redesigned the teacher’s portal for parents, identified at-home learning resources for students, and helped the teacher develop a virtual back-to-school experience for parents.

It should come as no surprise that I encourage you to explore ways to promote volunteerism in your workplace. If you’d like to learn more about how Forty1-Vitiello does it and can help other companies do the same, reach out to our team. And for others who have already embraced volunteerism among employees, I’d love to hear your success stories.

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