“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.”― Horace Mann
As social responsibility becomes more and more of an expectation for businesses and organizations, many employers are searching for ways to get their companies involved in greater social causes.
Sure, you can throw a bunch of money to charities (this is good, please keep doing this), but don’t let your company’s philanthropic efforts stop here. Why not include your greatest asset: your people? Invite your employees to be a part of your company’s community outreach by offering them volunteer time off.
What Is Volunteer Time Off?
Volunteer time off, also referred to as VTO, is a set number of hours an employer can offer to employees for volunteering purposes only. These are separate from an employee’s PTO and sick days, as they’re meant to promote community impact and volunteerism within a company.
Each year, more and more companies offer VTO to their employees. In 2018:
24% of American Companies offered VTO 1
65% of enterprise level companies offered VTO 2
What Are the Benefits?
By offering VTO to your employees, you’ll:
1. Attract and retain company talent
If you’re looking for ways to attract new hires, VTO will likely catch some attention.
75% of executives believe that offering opportunities for personal purpose work, such as volunteerism and community involvement, will be crucial in hiring and retaining talent for the next decade of workers.3
This really isn’t shocking information. Spending time helping others gives people perspective, confidence, general happiness. It makes sense that people want to work somewhere where they have a chance to contribute to causes that they care about, while reaping the wellness perks that come along with doing so.
And hey, everyone needs a little break away from their daily grind sometimes. In fact, studies4 show that making time to volunteer actually increases brain functioning and productivity!
2. Bring your company values to life
You can toss around the words “impact” and “culture” as much as you want, but they won’t catch anyone’s attention until they’re put into action. If you want to communicate to the world that your company is invested in the community you serve, sponsoring volunteer time is a pretty great way to do this.
Your employees will have stories from their experiences – share them. Promote the good your employees have done. Your employees will feel rewarded, your company will look great, and hey – you just might encourage another company to adopt a VTO policy of their own.
3. Promote volunteering and better your community
Employees who take advantage of offered VTO may have such a good experience volunteering that they go back for seconds. Junior Achievement, a non-profit that regularly hosts company volunteer days, explains that “This actually happens a lot. Once people have that first experience volunteering, they come back because they see the impact they can have.”
According to studies5 by The Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteers are nearly twice as likely to donate to charity than those who don’t volunteer. Just by offering a small amount of VTO, you send a whole new crew of volunteers into the community and you just might spark a positive change in an employee’s life.
How to Implement a VTO Policy for Your own Employees
If adopting a VTO policy sounds like a good idea for your company, start planning out the logistics! You’ll have to consider the number of days your company can afford and whether or not you’ll want to limit the types of volunteering you allow. For example, some companies have one or two designated organizations that their employees can choose from, where others are more flexible, allowing people to choose to volunteer for causes that affect them personally.
What goals do you have for your community? Maybe you hope to eliminate hunger, raise money for breast cancer research, or keep your local river clean. Whatever it is, know that making a team effort as a company can make a huge difference. Show your employees and community that you’re invested in them and consider offering VTO.