Volunteer Programs: 8 Must-Have Guidelines to Improve Employee Engagement

Corporate giving wins more than just consumer support and sales; it also increases your ability to recruit and retain top talent. This is especially true with younger workers and women. In fact, research from a Volunteer IMPACT Survey published by Deloitte shows that 78 percent of employees would rather work for an ethical and reputable company than receive a higher salary.


Additionally, the University of Texas at Austin and thePoints of Light Foundationfound that volunteer programs can contribute to employeeskill development, improve leadership skills, foster teamwork and add to job satisfaction. Fifty-eight percent use their employee volunteer program for recruiting and retaining employees, and 97 percent of employee-volunteer managers thought employee volunteering provided a way to improve employee teamwork.

For example,Prudential, No. 9 in the 2012DiversityInc Top 50andDiversityInc’s Top Company for Community Developmentin 2011, held a “Breaking the Gala Addiction” competition and asked nonprofits to submit business plans to create revenue-generating ventures that will raise money and reduce their reliance on expensive gala events, grants and donations. The Community Food Bank’s “Grains for Good” project won first place, which included a $75,000 grant from Prudential and three months of project-management assistance from a team of Prudential volunteers.

“They brought in their own marketing people from Prudential who worked with us redesigning the packaging, the bags that these bagel crisps are going to come in, and provided us with a brand new design and even a big poster on an easel we could display at a big event we had a few weeks ago,” says Richard J. Uniacke, director of market development at Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

Additional company success stories in the article are included fromPricewaterhouseCoopers(No. 1) andTime Warner(No. 40).

However, before you start giving your employees time off to volunteer, you’ll want to set some guidelines to establish and support their efforts. In this 2,000-word Employee Volunteer Programs article, DiversityInc provides the eight best practices that companies need for a successful employee-volunteer program. Among the top three: firm commitment and communication; recognizing the activity as a valid use of time; and encouraging senior managers to lead by example and volunteer themselves.

Additional best practices detailed in the article include:

  • Offering skilled volunteerism as an option for employees
  • Helping employees find the right volunteer opportunity
  • Providing training
  • Giving recognition
  • Tapping into experienced employees and retirees

Read the full Employee Volunteer Programsarticle at BestPractices.DiversityInc.com.

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