The other day I was crisscrossing the state en route to another youth baseball tournament, when I drove by the Medtronic campus and saw a billboard that caught my eye. Want to take a guess at what it said? Technology…nope. Innovation…try again. Saving lives…you would think maybe, but no. The billboard said, plain and simple, “Medtronic Employees Volunteer in 120 Countries.” I asked myself, “With all the good they do in the world, why would they choose that message to be seen by thousands upon thousands of passing eyeballs?” The more I thought about it, the clearer it became. Corporate volunteerism and volunteer programs have become a sweet spot for businesses to connect with their employees, their communities and pump up their corporate reputation.
The Power of Giving
For companies, offering employee volunteer opportunities or programs has become essential. A 2014 study from America’s Charities revealed 68 percent of employers report their employees expect them to support volunteerism. More and more, people want to be a part of something bigger. They see the opportunity to give back through volunteerism as a way to make an impact on those in need. And themselves. Of the people who volunteer:
- 94 percent say it improves their mood
- 78 percent say it lowers their stress levels
- 96 percent say it enriches their sense of purpose in life
It’s about making a difference – and feeling good about it.
The Business Value of Volunteering
Ask any HR executive and they will tell you employee volunteerism is becoming a significant part of company cultures, spurring employee engagement and positively impacting a company’s reputation. It’s also moving the needle in supporting recruitment and retention efforts. According to a study from Net Impact and Rutgers University, employees who say they have an opportunity to make a direct social and environmental impact at work report higher satisfaction levels than those who don’t, by a two-to-one ratio. It is becoming easier for leaders to see that employee engagement in volunteer activities can significantly improve job performance. Better engagement. Company pride. Higher performance and job satisfaction. The billboard makes sense. There is something for everyone in the employee volunteer message. With a strong corporate volunteer program everyone wins—the company, the employees and, most importantly, those in the community who need help.