"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others"

How Employee Volunteerism is Good for Business

How Employee Volunteerism is Good for Business

Posted by martin.parnell | Employee Engagement Volunteerism

One of benefits of belonging to the Human Resources Institute of Alberta is the opportunity to attend their “Networking at Noon” sessions. These are sponsored by The Cooperators Group and focus on education, training and information. A recent session was on “Employee Engagement through Volunteerism”, a topic close to my heart.

There were many times during my 5 year, “Quests for Kids” initiative when I felt like giving up. Whether it was a leg injury when running the 250 marathons in one year, hyperthermia while summiting Kilimanjaro or mental fatigue in battling the coastal path in England, one thing kept me going, my commitment to raise funds for Right To Play and give thousands of children the gift of hope.

It’s been recognised that the act of helping others is very powerful. In a corporate environment this manifests itself in a number of areas including reputation and credibility, recruitment and staff retention, staff morale and work performance, training / development and local and international connections. An interesting fact from the UK is that 70% of the FTSE 100 companies already have a volunteering program but only 20% of medium sized businesses offer volunteering to their employees.

A report issued by Realized Worth stated that, “for companies where employees were more engaged than not, their profitability jumped by 16%, general productivity was 18% higher than other companies, customer loyalty was 12%, and quality increased by 60%”. The report also noted that “this is even more amazing when contrasted with the estimated $350 billion disengaged employees cost their employers every year just in the United States alone”.

During the session, Mavin Pawlivsky, Business Development Manager with The Cooperators explained the workings of their program. Each employee has two paid volunteer days per year and these can be used on a number of community initiatives. Groups helped include Canadian Blood Services, Meals on Wheels, Children’s Wish Foundation, ALS and Muscular Dystrophy. Marvin also talked about house builds in the Philippines, the international project employees undertook in 2015.

After the meeting I talked with Kate Barclay, Director, Human Resources for The Bodtker Group of Companies. Bodtker provides a comprehensive range of industrial containers and consumer packaging and they have 500 employees Canada wide. Kate explained that her company offers one day volunteerism a year to their employees but she was interested in the international volunteering aspect. I let her know that the Rotary Club of Cochrane are looking at participating in a house build project in El Salvador through Shelter Canada.

Volunteerism offers so many benefits for the employer and employee. Is 2016 the year your business lets it’s employees make a difference in the world?

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