Some of the most successful and well-known organizations have employee volunteer programs in place. Salesforce gives its employees 7 paid days of volunteer time each year to enable them to give back to their communities. Deloitte encourages its professionals to perform pro bono work, resulting in about 81,000 client service hours donated per year through more than 200 pro-bono projects. Microsoft’s employee giving program helped employees donate 700,000 volunteer hours in 2017, and the company matches employee donations.
What do these business giants know that the rest of us don’t? They’ve likely clued into all of the benefits of having a workplace volunteerism program. There are many great reasons to implement a philanthropic initiative at work. Many of them are related to talent acquisition and employee retention. Enabling employees to volunteer can improve job satisfaction and work-life balance, allowing employees to bridge their careers and their desire to make an impact.
Attracting talent and retaining employees are great goals on their own, but volunteerism also has a positive impact in other areas. As October is Healthy Workplace Month in Canada, we’re going to focus on some of the health benefits of volunteering.
Several studies have found that those engaged in charitable activity typically report experiencing a state of euphoria. This is known as “helper’s high,” and it is caused by endorphins in the brain that provide a mild version of a morphine high when you act charitably.
People who volunteer also report higher levels of self-confidence, happiness, and psychological well-being. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that doing nice things for others significantly increases your positive mood and reduces social anxiety.
Similarly, a United Health Group study found that volunteering can help you manage and lower your stress levels. Volunteers also reported feeling physically healthier and more knowledgeable about their health.
So how do you introduce volunteerism to your organization? Salesforce, Deloitte and Microsoft provide some great examples, but they’ve had years to fine-tune their programs. If you’re just starting out, set yourself up for success by starting small. You don’t need a complex employee volunteer program to help your team members feel the positive effects of giving back.
Here are some ideas that are relatively easy to implement and manage:
Finding ways to volunteer and give back as an organization can help your employees feel more fulfilled, less stressed, and healthier overall. Volunteerism offers so many potential benefits to the volunteer (not to mention the recipient!), that it may just be one of easiest and most effective ways to improve the well-being of your workforce. Why not start your own philanthropic initiative for Healthy Workplace Month? Your employees and your community will thank you!
This blog post is part of our series for Healthy Workplace Month. If you missed the first post, you can find it here. For more information about Healthy Workplace Month, please visit healthyworkplacemonth.ca.
We’re here to answer any questions you may have.