Five Reasons Why Volunteering Is the Best Perk of All
Whether it’s discounted gym memberships, free fruit, health insurance, or childcare support, the modern benefits package is designed to give employees that little bit extra. But what if the best perk of all is the opportunity to help others?
A growing number of businesses are now offering their employees the chance to spend a day or two volunteering instead of working – and the results have been amazing. To celebrate International Volunteer Day, here are five reasons why volunteering is one of the best benefits you can provide.
1. You get to give something back
Whether we like to admit it or not, so much of our professional lives are about what we can gain. We are constantly striving for another leg up the ladder, a better salary, more recognition. While there’s nothing wrong with personal ambition, it’s important to balance out the ‘what can I get?’ with a little ‘what can I give?’
Volunteering is one of the purest forms of giving. You offer up your time for the benefit of someone or something else. But as we all know from experience, the more you give, the more you get in return.
2. It’s team-building at its best
When HR announces the latest team-building initiative, most people shudder. Why? It’s not necessarily because they dislike spending time with their teammates, but because forcing something as organic as human relationships through contrived activities just feels awkward.
With volunteering, your team can work together on something truly authentic, meaningful, and rewarding, away from the confines of the office. They’ll get to know a different side of each other, and all that important teambuilding will happen naturally.
3. It boosts engagement
With its close link to increased productivity and reduced turnover, employee engagement has become the holy grail for HR and business leaders in recent years. But what drives it? Well, engaged employees are emotionally invested in their work, and feel a strong connection to their employer and colleagues.
This is what makes volunteering such a great engagement strategy. It provides an opportunity for employees to rally together for a worthwhile cause, and undertake work that is bursting with meaning and purpose. Simply by having the opportunity to volunteer, employees are likely to feel better about themselves, their work, and their employer.
4. It makes the business look good
With growing concerns around social and environmental issues, people now look to organisations to be more than just profit-making machines. Indeed, both customers and employees want to be associated with businesses that have a positive impact on people and the community.
By allowing your employees to take part in volunteering projects, you not only benefit them and the community, you show the world that you are a company that cares.
5. It benefits the community
The most direct benefit of volunteering is the impact on the community. Whatever cause you choose to support, you have the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. We’ve already seen this at People First, where a group of software developers transformed the garden space of a specialist children’s center at Nottingham’s City Hospital.
Just imagine if every company allowed its employees to dedicate at least one day per year to a worthy cause like this. In the UK alone, that would represent over 30 million days – or roughly 240 million hours – spent helping others, improving the community, and inspiring change.
What about you?
When you weigh up the benefits, it’s clear that volunteering is a win-win. Everyone stands to gain – from individual employees to teams, their employers, and the community at large. And from an organizational perspective, it takes very little planning to set up – you can let your employees pick the charity or project they want to work on themselves.
So, if volunteering isn’t already part of your benefits package, what are you waiting for?