The Power of Corporate Volunteering
Corporate community service has many benefits for all parties involved.
A good business deal is often described as a win-win because both sides benefit. But companies that support volunteerism can enjoy a win-win-win, with benefits going to three parties: the community, the employees and the company.
Communities reap rewards from companies that emphasize volunteerism and philanthropy. Holland Construction Services, for example, organizes employee volunteer activities at organizations such as Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rotary Club, Neighbors for Renewal, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and United Way, as well as with local Chambers and various church groups. Employees also participate in annual food drives, blood drives and clothing and toy collections.
Another commercial construction company that believes in giving back is Barton Malow Company. Each year, BMC employees dedicate one week to volunteer activities throughout the communities in which they do business. Last year, the Detroit community alone benefited from the efforts of some 250 BMC employee volunteers.
United Rentals is heavily involved in veteran programs and stresses the importance of getting involved in the community.
Besides the communities, the employees also win. A study on health and volunteering by UnitedHealth Group found that employees involved in volunteer work were happier, healthier and less stressed. In fact, among people who had volunteered in the last 12 months:
76% said volunteering made them feel healthier
-94% said it improved their mood
-78% said it lowered their stress levels
-96% said it enriched their sense of purpose in life.
It’s clear that volunteerism is good for employees and the community. Now, here’s the icing on the cake: It can also be good for a company’s image (which can benefit the bottom line), and for employee recruitment and leadership development as well.
Other businesses, local government and the community all recognize and appreciate the good deeds of a company and its employees. Often, local media will cover these activities and place sponsoring companies in a favorable light.
For example, a recent article in The Palm Beach Florida Weekly featured the community service activities of Venture Construction Group of Florida. It included this quote from Steve Shanton, Venture’s president: “Our company mission is to help people in need. Philanthropic giving is an absolute must. My dad passed away from ALS in 2012, he was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and always instilled in me a sense of the importance of giving back.”
Volunteerism can also help develop leaders within the company. In a recent Deloitte survey of 2,506 respondents, 92 percent of hiring managers agreed that volunteering improves employees’ broader professional skill sets. More than 90 percent of these managers agreed that volunteering is an effective way to improve leadership skills. And 80 percent said that active volunteers move more easily into leadership roles.
What’s more, a company’s community service program can help boost recruitment of talented workers, especially millennials. A 2016 millennial employee engagement study by Cone Communications found that three-quarters of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. Nearly two-thirds won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility practices.
Win, win, win
The decision to take on a corporate volunteer program should be an easy one. It can yield a winning combination that will have a powerful and positive impact on much more than just the bottom line.