By: Donna Davis
ENGAGED | Consulting
The other day I was talking with a friend. She said her boss always says she shouldn’t expect so much from her job - instead she should “just be happy to get a paycheck”.
I agree that we should be thankful to have a job. However studies show most all of us want more from our work. We desire intrinsic motivation. Taking part and contributing to the organization. Being challenged in our work. Making a difference in our community.
Within for-profit organizations, it can be difficult to provide employees with these intrinsic motivators because everyone tends to get immersed in the day-to-day functions of running a business. That’s why I suggest organizations consider adopting a company-sponsored volunteer program.
For years, people have been aware of the positive benefits of volunteering. But it wasn’t until a study was conducted by Marieke Van Willigen, Differential Benefits of Volunteering Across the Life Course, that leaders became aware of the positive outcomes to their organizations when they included a company-sponsored volunteer program as part of their benefit package.
Providing employees with the opportunity to volunteer benefits everyone, especially the employee. It helps employees feel they are doing more than just collecting a paycheck. It increases camaraderie within the organization. And it helps employees feel more connected to the community.
To set up a company-sponsored volunteer program:
1. Begin With a Single Non-Profit. Start by partnering with a single 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is located in your community. Beginning strong is essential to the program. Once the program is up and running, more charitable organizations can be added to the program if desired.
2. Engage Employees. Get employees involved in the selection of the charity. This creates excitement. For maximum benefit, make sure the charity is supported by the majority of those in the organization. It’s a great idea to ask everyone for ideas and then vote.
3. Spread the word. Use a variety of methods to announce the organization’s support of the chosen charity. This will build momentum among everyone.
4. Structured Time Off. Give employees paid time off to volunteer. Some companies give individual employees time off each week, while others work together as a group. It depends on the organization and the way you want to structure the program. The key is to structure the program in a way that best meets your organization’s needs.
5. Leadership Modeling. When leaders willingly model volunteerism, employees are more able to engage in their everyday work because of increased confidence in management.
A volunteer program is a great way to involve employees in your organization. Many workers want to feel that they are making a difference in the community and by sponsoring a volunteer program you may find employees are more engaged in their everyday work.