HRO Today March 2018 - 44

Employee Engagement
1. Stronger company culture. " A huge part of having a
distinctive, compelling culture comes from leveraging a
company's most sustainable differentiator-its people-
and connecting them with the causes and issues they
are personally passionate about, " says Farris. " When
companies embed easy ways to feel, interact, and
experience these passions as part of their day-to-day work,
their people feel more connected and purpose-driven. "
By creating opportunities for employees to do good
together, companies can encourage a sense of connection
and understanding that crosses the boundaries of teams
and departments. " Volunteering builds on a company's
mission, vision, and values. Taking pride in helping the
surrounding community has spillover effects within
the corporation and serves to develop teamwork and
cooperation, " says John Mills, executive vice president of
business development at Rideau Recognition Solutions.
2. Greater employee loyalty. " Employee recognition
programs alongside more human-centered practices have
the power to not only strengthen relationships between
employees, but also employees' overall connections to the
companies for which they work, " says Irvine.
Recognizing employees for their participation in employee
volunteer initiatives instills a sense of pride in their
own performance and the company that they work for,
increasing loyalty to the organization.
" When employees volunteer together, job titles and
company hierarchy lose their importance and achieving a
common goal becomes priority, " says Peabody of VOMO.
" When it comes time for everyone to return to work,
employees are naturally more engaged in their tasks, as
they feel a deeper purpose within and loyalty toward the
company. "
This translates to improved retention rates, with Cone
Communications reporting that 70 percent of employees
stay loyal to an organization where they feel they can
make a positive impact. The number is even higher for
millennials at 83 percent.
3. Increased brand visibility. Volunteer programs provide
companies with a unique opportunity to build their
employer brand and portray themselves as philanthropic
and socially responsible employers of choice.
" Volunteering can help companies recruit and retain new
employees. There is a war for young talent and today's
pool of job seekers want to join organizations that offer
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HRO TODAY MAGAZINE
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MARCH 2018
the opportunity to give back, " says Mills.
Furthermore, by more deeply engaging existing
employees, companies with employee volunteer programs
create brand ambassadors who are willing to vouch for
the company, building a corporate reputation that attracts
potential candidates.
Benefits to Communities
At the community level, corporate employee volunteer
programs confer obvious advantages. " The community
gains more engaged citizens, additional resources, and
more knowledge on how to approach problems, " says
Maritz's Dornfeld. In addition, local organizations gain the
opportunity to develop fruitful external relationships with
other community members, increasing the size of their
network.
Creating a Top Employee Volunteer Program
In order to fully take advantage of these benefits,
organizations have to ensure that their volunteer
programs are authentic, accessible, and highly visible. HR
professionals should consider the following best practices
when developing these types of programs:
1. Align the program with core company values. The most
effective employee volunteer programs take into account
business goals and company values as well as the needs
of the community. By designing a program that aligns
with company values, organizations can better utilize
their strengths and assets to benefit the program, and can
further reinforce these values through their recognition
practices.
" Organizations should tie the employee volunteerism to
the company's core values to strengthen the employee's
ties to the company. This can be done by promoting all the
volunteer opportunities and making sure management
is on board and showing up at these opportunities, " says
Mills.
For example, Maritz's volunteer programs reflect a
commitment to developing people. " Since we have a
relentless focus on the development of people, we think
the best way to have an impact on the communities
in which we live and work is to invest in educational
endeavors, " says Dornfeld.
2. Involve employees. According to Cone Communications,
78 percent of employees say that they want to be an

HRO Today March 2018

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