January 18, 2019

Volunteering at Work: Encouraging Employees to Give Back

by Andy Dugan, Manley Deas & Kochalski, LLC

As aptly stated by Martin Luther King, Jr., "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?"

Near the time of year when America celebrates the legacy of MLK, there is no better time for businesses of all sizes to encourage their employees to become active in the greater Columbus community while simultaneously reducing risk to the company. There are numerous ways businesses can do so.

Many organizations are beginning to offer “volunteer time off”. These hours can be used like vacation days or paid time off, but employees are expected to devote this time to philanthropic efforts. Mid- to large-size businesses can create internal volunteer committees to research and promote volunteer participation. By permitting staff of all levels to join such a committee, companies can provide an alternative method to develop leadership skills separate from work responsibilities.

Businesses can also encourage employees to participate in a “day of service” where all employees spend the day volunteering, either in the office or out in the community. Businesses may want to choose a niche activity consistent with their mission statement. If a business is hesitant to make a long-term commitment, non-profit groups like the Besa organization can act as a volunteer clearinghouse, linking companies with groups that need assistance and providing a wide range of available opportunities.

Actively encouraging participation in benevolent activities is a smart investment for businesses because it increases employee collaboration, morale and self-awareness.