Enhance employee engagement by offering opportunities for charity work

Enhance employee engagement by offering opportunities for charity work

How would you like to spend your Saturday mornings with your company’s CEO and your team of employees… working in a local soup kitchen?

What would you think of supporting a reading program for at-risk youth in your town—one where your employees can volunteer for a couple of hours each week and help kids learn to read?

Or how would you feel about your entire team spending a long weekend helping build homes for veterans?

If this sounds interesting, but you’re worried about the time commitment either coming out of company hours or eating into employees’ weekends, then that’s a valid concern. However, before you shake your head and move on, it’s important to note that according to recent research, allowing employees to participate in socially engaged work can have a significant ROI in terms of talent attraction and engagement.

Here’s why: Today’s workers embrace their social responsibility and want to give back. What’s more, they want their employers to share those values and create work environments that facilitate giving back. As Suzanne Guillette reports in her Quartz article titled “Bottom up giving: The company that lets employees choose which local charities to support,” for employers, the incentive to do this lies in the fact that when employees feel good about what they’re doing at work, it offers a broader purpose to their jobs and gives them an additional reason to do their best at work every day.

How to choose a charity

There are so many charities and non-profits out there, choosing one can be confusing. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind. First, the cause has to appeal to your people. Ask your employees to suggest a number of organizations; then hold a poll to make the final selection. Second, it’s a good idea to choose a charity that can accommodate the number of volunteers your company would offer. For example, if 75 of your employees want to participate, choosing a home building charity is probably better than a small reading program. Third, you need to make sure that the charity is above board. Look into the history of the organization, and get your financial and legal departments to research it to make sure everything’s above board. And fourth, choose a charity that’s visible in your community. This makes it easier for your employees to feel involved and see how their efforts are making a difference in real people’s lives.

Maximize your volunteer program

There’s another reason to select a charity that’s visible in your community: it’s great publicity! Customers and clients will often be more inclined to do business with you when they’re aware of your philanthropic endeavors. At the same time, it’s hugely important for your employer brand. Currently employees can get an extra boost of satisfaction by giving back in this manner, and prospective employees can be attracted to your company because their values align with those of the organization. It’s also a great idea to organize a big fundraiser each year. Your company’s name and promotional abilities are likely to reach far beyond anything the charity could do on its own, which will result in more donations. A fundraiser is also an excellent PR opportunity that can give you weeks of social media material before, during, and after the event.

Offering opportunities for your employees to perform charity work can greatly enhance employee engagement and make your company an attractive employer for future talent. And as we’ve seen, it’s also great PR. But most importantly of all, when you put the power of a well-organized business to work for a struggling charity, you can make a positive impact on people’s lives and on society as a whole.