According to a study by Deloitte, companies with strong volunteer programs have 57% better employee engagement and 50% better retention rates than those without volunteer programs. As a business owner or executive, you're always looking for ways to improve your company's reputation and engross your employees. An employee volunteer program is a structured initiative that encourages employees to engage in volunteer work and community service. Companies can implement these programs to support social causes, build a positive brand reputation, and improve employee engagement and retention.
In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of having an employee volunteer program policy, how it can benefit your business, types of corporate volunteer policies, and components of employee volunteer policy, and some real-life corporate volunteer policy examples.
What is an Employee Volunteer Program Policy?
Employee or corporate volunteer program policy is a set of guidelines that outline how a company's employees can participate in volunteer activities. The policy typically includes components such as types of supported volunteer activities, time off and compensation policies, liability, and risk management procedures, reporting and evaluation processes, and a code of conduct for employees.
Why do we need Employee Volunteer Program Policies?
Employee volunteering policies play a crucial role in establishing a well-defined framework of guidelines for employees to adhere to while engaging in volunteer activities. This ensures everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
In addition, a well-crafted corporate volunteer policy serves as a safety net for your business by mitigating potential legal risks. By setting clear guidelines and procedures for volunteer activities, the likelihood of accidents or injuries during such events can significantly reduce, thereby safeguarding your business from liability.
What’s also great about a policy like this is its ability to synergize with other major company initiatives. This can lead to a greater sense of purpose and cohesion among employees, resulting in more meaningful and impactful volunteer work.
Benefits of having an Employee Volunteer Program(EVP) Policy
Here are some key benefits of having an EVP policy in place:
- Incorporating an employee volunteer program policy can have multiple advantages for your business. At the forefront, it can assist you in constructing a positive image in the community through your volunteer activities.
- In today's competitive job market, attracting and retaining the best talent is a top priority for companies. These volunteer program policies can be a valuable tool in achieving this goal. Companies offering volunteer programs send a powerful message to potential employees that the company is not solely focused on the bottom line. Instead, it demonstrates a passion to make a difference.
- Finally, these corporate volunteering policies can boost employee morale and engagement resulting in increased job satisfaction and a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Types of Corporate Volunteer Policies
It's important to choose policies that align with your company's values and goals and to have clear guidelines to ensure the policies are implemented effectively. Here are a few of these policies:
- Volunteer Time Off (VTO): VTO is a benefit that allows employees to take time off from work to volunteer for a non-profit organization or charity of their choice. Your VTO policy should outline:
- How much time off employees are allowed to take,
- What types of volunteer activities are eligible, and
- How employees can request and report their VTO time.
- Global Volunteering: This policy enables employees to participate in volunteer activities outside their home country. By participating in global volunteering, employees can gain a unique cultural experience while contributing to the betterment of the community. These programs include initiatives like disaster relief efforts, environmental conservation, education and health initiatives, and community development projects. It promotes global citizenship and fosters international relationships.
- Team Volunteer Days: Companies can organize group volunteer events for employees to participate in together, such as cleaning up a park or volunteering at a local food bank, etc. This promotes teamwork, builds morale, and makes a positive impact on the community.
- Skills-Based Volunteering: This type of volunteering allows employees to use their skills and expertise to help non-profit organizations. For example, a marketing employee could help a non-profit with their branding or social media strategy.
Examples of Corporate Volunteer Policies
To help you get started with your employee volunteer program, here are a few corporate volunteer policy samples from other companies:
IBM Corporate Volunteerism Policy
IBM is a company that has a strong commitment to corporate volunteerism, and its corporate volunteerism policy reflects this commitment. The IBM Corporate Volunteerism policy is designed to encourage and support employee volunteerism and community service, to make a positive impact in the communities where IBM operates. It also provides guidelines for employees who want to participate in volunteer activities, including information on how to request time off work for volunteering and how to log volunteer hours. IBM also offers a volunteer grant program, which provides financial support to non-profit organizations where employees volunteer regularly.
Starbucks Volunteer Policy
The Starbucks volunteer policy provides employees with opportunities to volunteer during regular work hours or outside of work and includes several programs to support and recognize employee volunteerism.
Key components of the Starbucks volunteer policy include:
- The "Volunteer PTO" program, which allows employees to take up to 40 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer with non-profit organizations.
- Starbucks also offers a "Service Pay" program, which provides employees with up to 20 hours of paid time for participating in disaster relief efforts or other emergencies.
Starbuck 's mission statement is "to inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time." The company's volunteer policy is aligned with this mission and serves as a way to promote social responsibility and community engagement among its employees.
Microsoft Volunteer Policy
Microsoft’s robust volunteer policy allows employees to engage in various volunteer opportunities throughout the year. The company's mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and its volunteer policy aligns with this mission.
Under the Microsoft Volunteer Policy, Microsoft employees are encouraged to volunteer in their local communities individually and through group activities. The company provides resources such as a volunteer portal that employees can use to find opportunities and track their volunteer hours. It also offers a matching gift program, where the company will match employee donations to eligible organizations.
For more such examples visit: 10 Inspiring Examples of Corporate Volunteer Programs
Components of an Employee Volunteering Policy
Corporate volunteer program policies can vary depending on the organization's size, industry, and specific objectives. Here are 6 key components that most policies should include:
1. Purpose and Objectives: The policy will outline the overall purpose and objectives of the corporate volunteer program. This section should clearly articulate the organization's goals for its volunteer efforts.
2. Volunteer Activities: The policy will guide the types of volunteer activities that are supported by the organization. These activities can include anything from environmental clean-ups and disaster relief efforts to mentoring and educational initiatives.
3. Eligibility and Participation: The policy will specify who is eligible to participate in the corporate volunteer program, as well as any requirements for participation. This section should also include information on how employees can sign up for volunteer opportunities.
4. Time Off and Compensation: The policy will address time off and compensation related to employee volunteer activities. This can include paid time off, flexible schedules, or even extended leaves of absence for long-term volunteer commitments. In addition, companies can offer compensation or other incentives for employees who participate in volunteer activities, such as matching gift programs in which a company matches donations made by employees to eligible non-profit organizations or rewards for reaching certain volunteer milestones.
5. Liability and Risk Management: The policy will include liability and risk management provisions. To mitigate potential risks, the policy should outline the steps the company will take to manage potential hazards and reduce liability. This may include :
- Requiring employees to sign a waiver or release before participating in certain volunteer activities.
- Ensuring that appropriate insurance policies cover the organization.
- Implementing safety protocols.
6. Reporting and Evaluation: The policy will track employee engagement and measure the impact of the corporate volunteer program. It should provide clear guidance on how to report volunteer hours and activities, including any forms or documentation required, and also specify the timeframe within which employees must report their volunteer work. Additionally, the policy should outline how the organization will evaluate the impact of its corporate volunteer program. This may include metrics such as:
- The number of volunteer hours contributed .
- The amount of money raised for charitable causes.
- The overall impact of the program on the community and the organization.
Employee Volunteering Policy Template
Creating an extensive corporate volunteer program policy is essential to ensure your volunteer activities are safe, effective, and rewarding for everyone involved. Here are some guidelines to consider when creating a corporate volunteer program policy:
- Introduction: Provide a brief overview of the policy and its purpose.
- Add Volunteer Activities: Outline the types of volunteer activities that are supported by the organization, including specific causes, events, or organizations that the company supports.
- Add Flexible Schedules and Generous Rewards: Address any time off or compensation policies related to employee volunteer activities, including paid time off for volunteering and matching gift programs.
- Ensure Safe and Responsible Volunteer Activities: Address potential risks associated with employee volunteer activities and outline how the organization will manage these risks.
- Maintain a Report: Establish a process for employees to report their volunteer hours and activities, and outline how the organization will evaluate the impact of its corporate volunteer program.
- Mention Pro Bono Service Policy: If applicable, provide guidelines for employees to use their professional skills to provide services to non-profit organizations free of charge.
- Build a Stronger Team Through Volunteerism: Emphasize the importance of employee engagement and morale, and how the corporate volunteer program can contribute to these areas.
- Have a Mission Statement: Include a mission statement or other language that reflects the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility and community involvement.
- Add Signature and Date: Include a signature block and date for the policy to be signed and implemented.
By including these elements in an employee volunteer policy template, organizations can create a clear and comprehensive policy that aligns with their corporate values.
In conclusion, as a business executive or manager, you have the opportunity to create a policy that not only benefits your organization but also empowers your employees to give back to the community. We hope this was helpful!
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