Why You Should Seek Out a Company That Encourages Volunteering

Traditional corporate culture is quickly becoming outdated, as agile start-ups, tech companies, and even large-scale corporations push the boundaries on incorporating new values into the workplace.

One of the central tenants of a strong corporate value system is undoubtedly its ties to the community. And the simplest way for companies to cultivate those ties is by encouraging volunteerism on behalf of their employees and directors.

Despite the desire of employees to work for a company that champions volunteering, a recent survey conducted by Telus reports that fewer than half of all Canadians currently working or looking for work say their company encourages them to serve their community. For CEOs and senior leaders looking to boost morale, foster healthy interpersonal relationships and elevate their own reputation, creating strong employee volunteer programs is a must.

Here’s why you should work for a company that encourages its workers to give their time to worthy causes.

Companies that care about others also care about their employees
They say you can tell how well someone will treat you based on how they treat others. The same rule can be applied to companies. Workplaces that foster volunteer programs for their employees show their willingness to devote time, resources and energy both internally and externally.

This generous attitude often seeps into other facets of the business that enhance its culture, such as employee events, open dialogue and workplace learning. For example, Telus — which has a longstanding history of giving back and making a positive social impact on our local communities through volunteerism — has committed to giving back a million hours of volunteer time this year. The company’s commitment includes integrating community service into company off-site meetings, and even encouraging their customers and business partners to join them in volunteering in local communities.

It’s great for your personal well-being
Companies that encourage volunteering recognize that the act is not only good for the people served, but also the employees who serve them. The benefits are both personal and professional: 76% of people who gave back to their community in the last 12 months say it made them feel healthier, and a whopping 96% say that it has enriched their sense of purpose in life. Beyond the personal, 49% of people also said that their altruistic acts have helped with their career in the paid job market.

Employees are cognizant of these benefits. As reported by Telus’ survey, half of working Canadians say it’s important when they consider applying to work at a company that it organizes events for employees to donate their time to their local community.

Volunteering builds strong relationships
Like any good team-building exercise (trust falls, anyone?), volunteering helps build strong team bonds that will translate to the day-to-day work of a company. According to a recent study by UnitedHealth Group, 64% of employees who currently volunteer say that doing so with their work colleagues has strengthened their relationships, while a vast majority said that it helped with their career by developing their people and teamwork skills. That team-building attitude echoes in the projects and discussions that those employees then participate in with their company, ultimately creating a more productive and open work environment.

Philanthropy is not only good for society and the company’s reputation, it also has startlingly positive effects on the employees themselves. No matter the nature of a business, there is always room to incorporate public service into a strong corporate culture.