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How to Engage Employees in Community Service
Engage Employees in Service

Many employers invite their employees to participate in their charitable work.  When employees volunteer together outside of work, it unites them in another common cause, helps build stronger relationships, and strengthens cooperation at work.  In addition, it also strengthens the employer-employee relationship and the employee’s respect for the company’s commitment to service.  

  • Recent research shows a majority of Americans value having a job that helps them to make a social impact more than a job that brings them prestige or wealth.  The sentiment is even stronger among the up-and-coming generation of workers, many of whom say they would take a pay cut to work for a company that enables them to make a difference.  The nonprofit Netimpact's "Talent Report:  What Workers Want in 2012" issued the following statistics:

    • Employees who say they have the opportunity to make a direct social and environmental impact through their job report higher satisfaction levels than those who do not.

    • All other things being equal, 58% of people say they would take a 15% pay cut to work for an organization with values like their own; and 45% of students said they would take a 15% pay cut to work for an organization that makes a social or environmental impact.

    • The ideal job for 65% of college students and 51% of workers would help them make the world a better place.

    • More than half of workers say having a job where they can make an impact is essential to their happiness.

    • 72% of graduating college students said they wanted to work for a company dedicated to making the world a better place. 

The "triple bottom line" is profits, people, and the planet.  (Source:  Jeanne Meister's "The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop and Keep Tomorrow's Employees Today")

What You Can Do

Businesses can implement many variations of volunteer options.  Projects may be annual events, or ongoing partnerships with specific nonprofits. 
  • Assign a volunteer director to develop and coordinate volunteer activities.

  • Establish a philanthropy board staffed with rotating employees.  Allow the board to decide what to do with charitable donations from the company.  Consider your company values and align your company with a purpose. 

    EXAMPLE:  PAML (Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories of Spokane) LLC has a committee that chooses an organization in Spokane each month, that is providing needed services within the community.  PAML employees are able to exchange the privilege of wearing jeans for a minimum $3 contribution to that day’s chosen charity.  PAML then matches the employee contribution.  These donations help that organization further their mission and assist the ongoing needs within our community.

  • Encourage employees to help create projects.  Ask your staff, or brainstorm as a group, to better understand how employees want to be engaged.  Find out what your employees are passionate about.  Encourage employees to share their opinion on how the company can become more involved in a social cause. 

  • Employees with particular management and technical skills can be matched with nonprofit agencies that request help in those areas of expertise.   

  • Provide a few hours each month, or paid time-off outside of paid vacation, for employees to get out of the office and participate in community service. 

  • Institute a dollar-for-dollar match for every dollar donated by an employee to a charity of their choice.

  • Consider employees' different schedules, with volunteer projects that can be done during the day, evening and weekend. 

  • Volunteer as individuals or as a group at a charity or nonprofit. 

  • Host a donation drive.   Place a donation box in the office for employees and customers/clients to donate items for a particular charity.  

  • Recognize volunteer hours to make volunteers feel appreciated, and to encourage other employees to join in.  Recognize your employees' volunteerism with a personal thanks or public recognition.