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Grow Your Business Your Team

Want a Better Workplace? Encourage Employees to Volunteer

Want a Better Workplace? Encourage Employees to Volunteer
Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Creating a culture of volunteerism within your company doesn't just help others, it also helps your organization, new research finds.

A study from Deloitte revealed that employers who encourage and promote volunteering boost morale, workplace atmosphere and brand perception.

The research found that an overwhelming majority – 89 percent – of employees think organizations that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment. In addition, 70 percent believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost staff morale than company-sponsored happy hours, with more than three-quarters saying volunteering is essential to employee well-being.

Most organizations, however, aren't cashing in on these potential benefits. Less than 40 percent of employees said their employers provide access to company-sponsored or coordinated volunteer programs. [Want to punch up your resume? Try volunteering]

Nearly 70 percent of employees are not volunteering as much as they would like to, with nearly two-thirds of those saying part of the reason is because they aren't able to dedicate any time during the day to volunteer.

"Employers have an opportunity to build on their volunteerism programs by creating a culture that celebrates volunteering and empowers volunteers to be more active," said Doug Marshall, managing director of corporate citizenship for Deloitte LLP, said in a statement.

In addition to providing more opportunities to volunteer, employers can do a better job of making sure employees, especially younger ones, know the benefits of doing so. Three-quarters of the millennials surveyed said they would volunteer more if they had a better understanding of the impact they were making, compared to 61 percent of those of all ages.

Besides explaining the benefits to the community that come from volunteering, employers could do a better job of informing employees how helping others in need can have a positive impact on themselves. Although 80 percent of those who make hiring decisions believe active volunteers move into leadership roles more easily, only 18 percent of employees think volunteering can enhance their career opportunities. Additionally, just 36 percent think volunteering can help develop new skills.

"As businesses continue to find new ways to retain and attract new talent, and establish a more purpose-driven and engaged workforce, they should consider how they can better incorporate volunteerism into their culture," Marshall said. "It's a potential solution from which businesses, professionals and communities can benefit, while supporting employees' personal and career development, and boosting their sense of well-being."

The study was based on surveys of 1,000 full- and part-time employees who have volunteered over the past 12 months.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.