Younger Employees Demanding Integration of Volunteering and the Workplace

At TalentManagement360 we put a lot of emphasis on the innovators in the world of talent management, and there’s a common thread being seen amongst many of these creative companies – volunteer time for employees.


For companies ranging from Quicken to the Clif’s Bars company, part of the employee benefits package and talent management strategy puts at least some emphasis on volunteering.

That idea was further highlighted with the results of a recent survey about Millennials and their dedication to volunteering. A poll conducted by the Associated Press and GfK found young people under the age of 30 are much more focused on giving back to their communities than the generations before them.

Study results showed twenty percent of adults under the age of thirty volunteered in 2013 – a number that was only 14 percent back in 1989 when George H.W. Bush championed the importance of volunteering in America.

Oftentimes volunteer work peaks as people reach their 30s and 40s, so we can likely expect to see this number grow as Millennials reach their middle age years.

So how do these numbers play into the workplace?

Employees want volunteering to play at least some role in their work life. A study conducted by the America’s Charities organization showed that an overwhelming 68 percent of employers say their employees expect them to support volunteering.

80 percent of the companies surveyed say they offer employees the ability to contribute money to nonprofits through automated payroll deductions, and 70 percent of surveyed employers say they offer matching programs for employees who donate to non-profits.

America’s Charities released these results and others in its “Snapshot 2014: Rising Tide of Expectations – Corporate Giving, Employee Engagement and Impact” report.

Data also in the report includes:

  • 77 percent of respondents say they’re moving to year-round charitable and volunteer-based engagement
  • Nearly 50 percent of employers said workplace giving was a key growth strategy within their organization
  • What employees expect from their employers is multifaceted: employees want the ability to utilize work hours to volunteer, they want skills-based volunteer opportunities and they also have come to expect a modern workplace giving program.

So how do you become a workplace that not only places value on philanthropy and community involvement, but includes it as a primary component of your talent management strategy?

  • Let your employees be the primary driver of your employee volunteer program. Employees are more likely to be engaged in not just volunteering but the work environment in general if they have at least some say in the direction their workplace philanthropy takes.
  • Align your employee volunteer program with your corporate vision and mission. You don’t want a volunteer or philanthropy program that isn’t strategic in terms of your business goals. The best volunteering programs have a clear strategy and are specifically focused in their implementation.
  • Create a program that leverages the strengths of your organization and your employees. Let your employees not just have the opportunity to give back and explore what they’re passionate about – also position it as a way for them to hone their strengths and abilities and use what they learn in the workplace.

Encouraging volunteerism and giving back in the workplace is one bold, exciting way for employers to keep their employees feeling satisfied, energetic and engaged. By including volunteering and philanthropy as part of your overall business and talent strategies, you can strengthen your company, your brand and your workforce, while positioning yourself as a leader on multiple fronts.

December 31, 2014   Updated :March 17, 2015   employee voluteerism, volunteering, workplace engagement   

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