6 Tips for Implementing an Employee Volunteer Program
staff may frown at the idea of committing time and resources to forming and
running an employee volunteer program (EVP), especially at a large company.
Employee volunteer programs are company managed and sponsored, so staff may
feel overwhelmed at the thought of having more work on their plates. That frown will quickly turn into a beaming smile, however, when the HR team
learns that corporate responsibility (CSR) efforts can reduce staff turnover by up to 50%, increase productivity by up to 13% and increase employee engagement by up to 7.5%.
Implementing employee volunteer programs can be a seamless process, especially
with the technology available today.
driving force behind these compelling statistics is the fact that employees
actually want to work for a company that promotes CSR, especially volunteerism.
This blog provides six strategies to help harness and leverage the power of
employee volunteer programs to enhance employee satisfaction and make
meaningful contributions to society.
1. HAVE A CLEAR PLAN AND GUIDELINES
first part of a strategy is to decide what success will look like for the
company. What are the objectives of the volunteer program – is there a set
employee engagement target or social outcome target?
CSR team needs to choose what kind of program to implement. Companies have several options when it comes to selecting what employee volunteer programs to
implement. Some of the most popular options are:
- Paid time off to volunteer
with a nonprofit of the employee’s choosing
- Employer-sponsored volunteer
days in which company teams volunteer at select nonprofits
- Grants for employee time or
board position. Better known as dollars for doers, companies will provide
nonprofits with a financial donation after an employee has spent a certain
amount of time volunteering or serves on the board for that organization
also need to provide guidelines. Employees must be given clear guidance on what
can and cannot count as volunteer work. For example, will both skill-based and
hands-on volunteerism count? Are any nonprofits excluded from volunteer
programs? Additionally, the plan must also include how departments or site
offices will manage employee volunteer programs. Having these written
guidelines will make the approval process efficient.
2. ADDRESS ISSUES EMPLOYEES CARE ABOUT
easy way to ensure a high level of employee engagement is to support causes
that employees are passionate about. One way to get this information is to have
employees complete an electronic survey. A 100% response rate is not
guaranteed, but those who respond are likely to participate enthusiastically.
Empowering employees to have input is a strong message showing employees that
leadership trusts and values their opinions.
3. BE EMPLOYEE-DRIVEN, BUT HAVE STRONG LEADERSHIP COMMITMENT
support of CSR shows employees that the company’s commitment is “more than just
talk.” As mentioned above, employees should be key influencers of activities,
but leaders need to be CSR advocates as well. Publically, company executives
should volunteer themselves and report on the importance and progress of CSR
activities at events such as annual meetings. It is equally important,
executives to actively solicit feedback from EVP organizers, as well as
recognize and thank employees for their service; a written thank you note or
personalized email still makes a difference. Without leadership commitment,
employees may feel like they are being pushed to do something that the company
does not value.
4. MAKE THE VOLUNTEER PROCESS SIMPLE AND FUN
employees to understand what might be hindering employee engagement. With the
results, CSR managers will be able to remove barriers and simplify the EVP
process. Having a web-portal
to search for and sign up for volunteer opportunities, log completed hours, and
check on progress towards dollars for doers goals is the best solution. CSR
managers can also add an element of fun to the web portal by encouraging
employees to share pictures and stories online.
5. EMPOWER EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEER AMBASSADORS
the management and motivation of employee engagement by appointing EVP
Ambassadors in various departments or office locations. These Ambassadors will
be responsible for driving any office-specific CSR or employee volunteer
program engagements, working as a liaison between leadership and staff, and
getting staff excited about the volunteer opportunities. The CSR team will most
likely have volunteers for EVP Ambassadors, but the people who take the time to
be EVP Ambassadors deserve a reward for their efforts. Some ideas for
incentives include an extra day of paid time off, gift cards, or office perks
such as a priority parking space.
6. MEASURE ENGAGEMENT AND IMPACT
with any other business operation, CSR/EVP efforts need to be actively tracked
and analyzed. CSR leaders should work with these Employee Volunteer Program
Ambassadors to get a pulse on which programs have high engagement, what needs
to be adjusted, and what programs might need to be discontinued. CSR managers
need to manage what matters, such as:
- Total hours volunteered
- Monetary value of hours (both
hands-on and skills-based work)
- How did nonprofit partners
benefit/what did they learn from the volunteers?
- How did employees
benefit/what did they learn from volunteering?
- Are employees more satisfied
with their work?
- How has employee engagement
changed over time?
your company wants to reap the benefits of a successful employee volunteer
program, DonationXchange is here to help. Learn more about our dynamic philanthropy platform.