Benefits on the Fringe: Volunteering Makes Employees More Competent and Engaged

employee volunteering

Welcome to Benefits on the Fringe, a column from writer Jason McDowell. Every month, McDowell covers the most unique benefits that today’s employers are using to woo talent, as well as advances and innovations in the employee benefits realm.

We all want to volunteer for a good cause, but let’s be honest: After a 40+ hour workweek, a long commute both ways, and finding time to spend with friends and family, who can fit it into their schedule?

As it turns out, companies seeking to attract top talent should consider providing workers with the time to volunteer. Making a real difference in the community has a longer lasting positive impact on workers than the occasional free lunch.

In fact, 77 percent of respondents to the 2017 Deloitte Volunteer Impact Research study believe that volunteering for a good cause is essential to employee well-being.

“Creating a culture of volunteerism is a win-win-win for companies, their employees, and our communities,” says Doug Marshall, director of corporate citizenship for Deloitte. “Research shows that corporate philanthropy and volunteerism help businesses develop, retain, and attract talent and that millennials are increasingly seeking opportunities to pursue social impact work in the corporate sector. In addition, research shows that having a culture of purpose is not just the right thing for private-sector organizations to do, but is also good for business.”

Happy Communities Make Happy Employees

Employees working at companies that give them time to volunteer tend to be more satisfied, according to the Deloitte study. Eighty-nine percent of respondents believe companies that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment, and 70 percent say volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than a company-sponsored happy hour.