Why Volunteer Programs Should be a Part of Your Wellness Strategy

Volunteering Improves Health

As cited by The Benefits Guide, NCBI research shows that volunteering can have numerous benefits for your employees, including:

  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Enhanced ability to handle stress
  • Increased life satisfaction
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Longer lives

Volunteering Improves Workplace Culture

In addition to being good for employee health, volunteer opportunities also improve the overall health of your business. In research conducted by Great Place to Work and Fortune, it was found employees who had a positive experience of giving back at work were four times more likely to say their teams were willing to give extra to get the job done. This is because charitable efforts help connect employees to their work and their organization’s mission, which leads to an overall more productive and engaged workforce. In supporting research, 90% of employees say companies that sponsor employee volunteering have an overall better workplace culture.
Offering volunteer opportunities also helps attract and retain top talent. Millennials make up a significant portion of the workforce, and finding meaning, purpose, and value in their work matters to this generation. They are also interested in customizing their volunteer options so they can feel as though they have truly made an impact. When you establish your company as one that gives back and cares about the community, you not only get the attention of prospective employees, but you also boost the morale and engagement of current employees.

How to Incorporate Volunteering into Your Wellness Strategy

Listed below are tips from The Benefits Guide and Alan H. Fleischmann, Founder & CEO of Laurel Strategies, on how to begin incorporating volunteer opportunities for your employees:

  • Offer paid volunteer hours: Consider making volunteering a full employee benefit. Evaluate your organization and see how many set number of paid hours per month or year that you can offer your employees.  Then they can choose to use that benefit to volunteer during normal work hours.
  • Sign up to volunteer as a group: Volunteering as a group is a great team building and bonding exercise that has the added benefit of improving everyones morale and health! Charities such as food banks, soup kitchens, and animal rescue organizations are always looking for volunteers and allow larger groups to volunteer together. Reserve a group block once a quarter at different charities and allow employees to sign up for the volunteer date.
  • Host drives or special events at work: This is a simple but very effective volunteer option that doesn’t require any extra travel time for employees. Ask local charities about their needs and get employees to contribute items and pack bags to be donated. Fill backpacks with supplies for back-to-school events, create care packages for deployed soldiers, fill grocery bags, sponsor a family at the holidays or collect pet food!
  • Join a race or staff events: Large events, such as races and community festivals, are often put on by local organizations and they need many volunteers to run smoothly. Sign up as a team to run in a race for a great cause or encourage your employees to sign up to serve as volunteer staff.
  • Give Employees the Choice: Talk with your employees to find out what causes matter to them and what they think will benefit those causes the most. In Fleischmann’s experience, the most successful volunteer efforts are those that effectively leverage the passions and interests of employees. 

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