How Do I Improve Morale? Encourage Employees to Give Back

Helping employees volunteer increases engagement.
Helping employees volunteer increases engagement.

Today’s post is courtesy of
According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), 50 percent of companies offered pro-bono services in 2013 showing an increase of 34 percent from 2010. In addition, 59 percent of companies offered paid-release volunteer programs during the same period, showing a 51 percent increase from 2010.
Fostering a volunteer program can also help boost retention and satisfaction rates. reported higher retntion rates for employees participating in volunteer activities over those who did not. They also discovered increased positive word of mouth from employees about employers with 54 percent saying they would speak highly of the company.

Choose the Right Cause

Not all charitable causes and giving programs are a good fit for a company. Consider workplace culture and interests and how giving back will impact your employees. Look for charities that are relevant to your company’s mission statement or hold similar interests and values. For example, if you sell sporting goods, consider supporting a youth athletic center or after-school program.

Encourage Paid Time Off for Volunteerism

Remember it’s unnecessary to choose a single cause for your entire company to support. Empower your staff to make their own choices about how they want to give. Intuit gives employees the freedom to choose an approved charity near and dear to their hearts and gives them paid time off to support it. Start by organizing group volunteer opportunities for a variety of charities during the holidays. Consider rallying the company to clean up a community park, sending Easter baskets to families in need or volunteering at a soup kitchen.
Once you tweak your office volunteer program, extend it quarterly and offer paid time off to work at their charities of choice. When your team works as group volunteers, it can foster a sense of altruistic teamwork and camaraderie they probably can’t replicate at the office with a boost like volunteering. Fostering that sense of altruism in the workplace can also help recruit and retain millennials looking for a more meaningful work experience.

Develop Matching Grants

There are more ways to encourage employees to volunteer than offering up paid time off and disrupting daily duties. Edison International works to build a culture of giving back, including matching grants. It matches employee donations to accredited education institutions dollar for dollar with a $2,000 limit. It also provides volunteer incentive grants by recognizing employees for their community commitment and letting them choose a local charity worthy of receiving the grant money.

Increase Partnerships and Networking

It’s possible for your business to selflessly offer time and money to a volunteer opportunity and still get something back. Sponsoring a half-marathon event or an entire recreation center can help get the word out about your business and leverage your public perception. Sponsorship is also an organic way to make connections with area businesses and network for new clients.
But it’s not just your company directly benefiting from workplace volunteerism. Employees become more engaged in their community and serve as a unified force representing your business. They learn new career, communication and problem solving skills while volunteering that they can bring back to the office. At the end of the day, your staff is out in the community giving a philanthropic face to your company.

2 thoughts on “How Do I Improve Morale? Encourage Employees to Give Back”

  1. Hi Michael,
    Great post! Sometimes it can be difficult to energize your employees or improve work morale. This is really a great idea to get people excited. There’s no better way to feel better than making other people feel better through volunteerism. And offering paid time off for volunteer efforts is brilliant. It’s a really interesting aspect to volunteering than the typical sponsorship or pro bono work that is usually discussed.
    So thanks for the great tip! We also use Ultimate Software’s HR software to improve the entire HR process. It’s another way to streamline the entire process.

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