If your business is in its infancy, volunteerism is something that typically happens within the firm automatically as you grow. Even if your company is well established and already has a high competition for talent, a well-established employee volunteer program (EVP) can help attract and keep talented, socially conscious and ambitious employees.
Volunteering can be fun and rewarding, as well as good for team building. There is no right answer as to which companies should or should not have volunteer programs, because each company is different. How you choose to volunteer and the programs you offer will be unique to you and your brand.
Once an employee volunteer program is in place, doing any of the following can help make it successful:
- Give the program a name. This offers an opportunity to talk about the program both internally and externally.
- Win over the managers—they set the tone for their teams. If they are active participants in volunteer opportunities, there is a good chance their teams will follow their lead.
- Know your objectives and structure the program accordingly. Decide whether you want to structure the program so that all employees (salaried and non-salaried) have to use regular work hours.
- Create a focus area and be consistent. Consider aligning your volunteer efforts to your company’s overall mission statement and goals. Make sure that all of the volunteer activities you promote have the same type of theme and benefactors.
- Formalize volunteer-hour tracking. This ensures a high standard of reporting and avoids confusion.
- Communicate through as many means as possible, such as the company intranet, during team meetings, at executive briefings or through other mechanisms. Communication sets the tone for the program and helps employees share stories of engagement.