This summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon not only exponentially raised awareness of ALS and more than $100 million dollars for ALS research, but it also highlighted the many benefits of incorporating volunteerism into the workplace. Those who took the challenge did so for altruistic purposes, but many of the businesses that participated also have reaped valuable benefits – whether they realize it or not.
As we all know, employee engagement is key to achieving and sustaining success in any organization. It not only dramatically increases employee satisfaction and retention, but engaged employees are also known to be more productive.
Interestingly, there is a direct correlation between incorporating volunteerism into a business culture and increased employee engagement. Companies that are active in their communities and/or provide volunteer opportunities for their employees tend to experience higher than usual employee morale and greater productivity. Employees who are engaged take greater initiative, meet deadlines, and provide better customer service.
These same employees also tend to be more loyal, and thus, less likely to seek out other employment opportunities. As many business owners are painfully aware, the loss of even one talented employee can be detrimental to the bottom line, especially for a small business.
In addition to increased employee engagement and reduced attrition, volunteerism in the workplace tends to yield other ancillary benefits, including, for example, generating additional revenue. Supporting non-profits and charities increases visibility in the local community. Also, more and more, businesses who embrace the notion of corporate social responsibility are choosing to do business only with others who hold the same philosophy.
Similarly, a business culture that incorporates volunteerism will likely attract more talent as the number of those entering the workplace seeking socially responsible employers remains on the rise. Internally, incorporating volunteerism into the business culture will provide increased opportunities for business owners to identify and develop future leaders of the organization.
Every business is different, and certainly incorporating volunteerism into the workplace is not a one-size fits all proposition. What one company takes on as a project will not be a natural fit for many others. Yet given the potential benefits to your business and the community at large, investigating your options would be more than a worthwhile exercise. When you do decide to take a look around, there is no doubt that you will find numerous worthy non-profits here in Bucks County who would be more than happy to partner with you and provide volunteer opportunities.
About the Contributor: Denise M. Bowman is a partner in Hill Wallack LLP’s Yardley, Pa. office where she is a member of the firm’s Business & Commercial and Complex Litigation practice groups and the Litigation Division. She is also the current Chair of the Board of Directors of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Bowman is very active in her community and a strong supporter of several local non-profits and charitable organizations. Back in September of this year, Ms. Bowman, along with over 60 of her Hill Wallack colleagues, participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and donated to this great cause. Her article on the benefits of volunteerism in the workplace originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce Outlook magazine.