5 Benefits of Incorporating a Day of Service in Your Company
Kaiser Permanente, the California-based managed care corporation, joined other socially conscious companies in heeding the call to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day as its motto suggests: “A day on, not a day off.”1 On Jan. 15, employees volunteered with organizations working for social change in Southern California and donated more than 2,600 pounds of food to a nonprofit that supports low-income and homeless individuals.2
Whether large or small, company efforts like Kaiser Permanente’s can help meet community needs and foster change. But students of business management understand that a corporate social responsibility program like a day of service is a significant—and today, expected—investment in a company’s workforce.
“As the battle for talent continues, volunteering can be a strong leg up on the competition for both prospective employees and employers,” said Mike Preston, chief talent officer for Deloitte LLP in Building Leadership Skills Through Volunteerism, a 2016 Deloitte research survey. “Companies that create a culture committed to making an impact and to tapping into their employees’ sense of purpose have the ability to attract and retain top talent.”3
Here are five benefits of incorporating a day of service in your company:
- Recruitment: A strong volunteer program “attracts new hires, especially Millennials,” according to Seven Practices of Effective Employee Volunteer Programs,4 a whitepaper released in 2013 by Points of Light. “Gone are the days when employee volunteerism was thought of as fluff, an afterthought, or a nice gesture.” In fact, one 2016 study reported that 71% of those surveyed said they want employers to be a conduit to volunteer activities.5
- Development: In the 2016 Deloitte survey, 92% of respondents said volunteer opportunities can strengthen and improve employees’ skills. Eighty percent believe employees who volunteer “move more easily” into leadership positions. Other findings: “85% believe that skills-based volunteering helps employees improve communication skills … and 85% believe that skills-based volunteering helps employees demonstrate accountability and commitment.”3
- Engagement: “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,” according to findings by Best Places for Giving Back 2017.6 Other benefits, cited in Seven Practices of Effective Employee Volunteer Programs, included: “boosts employee morale, team building, loyalty, productivity, and motivation and reduces absenteeism.”4
- Retention: Business managers know: Turnover is costly. Retention of top talent is critical to continuity and growth, and corporate volunteer programs can play a key role. According to the Deloitte study, “Nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided with opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues—and seven in 10 (70%) would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to important issues.”3
- Fulfillment: Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” As you plan your next day of service, bring stakeholders together to design the most meaningful and impactful activities. Engaging with your workforce and community can produce a win for all.
The right business degree—such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA)—can provide the tools you need to create an effective day of service volunteer program for your business. And the best business schools build an ethos of service into their framework, too. Each October, Walden University students, faculty, staff and alumni observe Global Days of Service, which offers volunteer opportunities from Gdansk, Poland, to Baltimore. As you review online graduate degree programs, consider an online master’s in business that places an emphasis on social change, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Then get ready to change lives.
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