Home » Volunteer Time Off: Benefits and How to Implement It in Your Business

Volunteer Time Off: Benefits and How to Implement It in Your Business

In today's business world, organizations are expected to show how their practices positively impact society or advance a noble cause in the community. As an integral part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR), employers are increasingly adopting corporate volunteerism to boost brand reputation and improve employee engagement and productivity.

Corporate volunteerism has become a viable way to empower employees to participate in voluntary activities in the community. A key component of corporate volunteerism that is slowly gaining traction is volunteer time off (VTO). So, what exactly is VTO, and how is it beneficial to both organizations and employees?

What is volunteer time off?

VTO is a form of paid time-off where employees volunteer in the community while receiving their usual salary. Organizations can offer voluntary services to partnering nonprofits or allow employees to select organizations for themselves.

Volunteer time off differs from voluntary time-off in that in the latter, employees take unpaid leave without losing benefits or status. In the former, they take a leave but must be involved in some form of charity work. Their employer also compensates them for the time spent doing the work.

How VTO benefit your business

Volunteer time off offers a win-win scenario for all parties involved- businesses, employees, and the community.

Here are some reasons you should integrate VTO into your corporate volunteerism efforts:

Increases productivity and workplace engagement

Volunteerism has become an integral part of employee engagement strategy because it helps instill a sense of purpose in staff. The feeling that they are part of a noble cause makes them more committed to their work, resulting in high productivity in the workplace.

In fact, studies show that companies that encourage volunteer activities create healthy working environments and record more profits in the long run. This means organizations with volunteer policies benefit on multiple fronts, a reason to incorporate them into your business model.

Attract and retain top talents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021. At a time when employees are leaving their jobs in such high numbers, organizations are doing everything possible to retain their top talents.

Moreover, millennials and Gen Z employees are making it clear that they are only willing to work for companies that demonstrate a commitment to the community. In other words, having volunteer time off is your most promising strategy for attracting and retaining the best talents.  

Implementing a VTO policy and aligning it with the values of your employees can make them feel more fulfilled. This can go a long way in reducing turnover rates and attracting new talents to your organization.

Increase brand awareness

Today's society is more interested in how organizations use their resources to impact the world positively. As such, brands with a voluntary time off policy in place tend to see improved brand recognition and reputation in the community. Partnering with non-profit organizations through voluntary work shows that you are invested in making the community a better place.

A good brand image also helps to differentiate your organization from competitors. This is a prerequisite for attracting top talent and socially-conscious employees who can help take your company to the next level.

Volunteerism teaches employees new skills

Volunteer work allows employees to learn and hone new skills that can prove valuable in the workplace. Paid volunteer time off allows workers to cultivate better collaboration, accountability, communication, empathy, and leadership skills. They also get to gain a fresh perspective when working in the community.

The new skills and lessons are carried over to the workplace, where they will help boost employee morale, enhance engagement, and foster a vibrant and healthy workplace environment.

Improve employees' health and wellbeing

In a recent UnitedHealthcare study, 93 percent of respondents reported improved moods and less stress after 12 months of volunteering. Even more, participating in voluntary work has proven to lower blood pressure in 40 percent of older adults, making it essential in keeping employees in good physical and mental health.

When employees are in good health, they feel less burnout, record low absenteeism, and become more productive at work.

Increased profits for your business

With consumers preferring to work with community-oriented companies, organizations can make more profits by incorporating corporate volunteerism into their CSR strategies. One global study revealed that consumers are 4-6 times more likely to engage with a company that invests its time and resources through voluntary work.

Simply put, having a volunteer time off policy improves the brand image, attracting new customers, which results in business profitability.

How to implement the VTO program

Successful implementation of a volunteer time off program requires planning and patience. The following are steps you can take to minimize challenges and maximize benefits:

Develop a volunteer time off policy

As part of your VTO program, you need to think through a few details, including the eligibility of the program, the leave request process, and a volunteer time off template to follow once implemented. Here are a few questions to help you develop a VTO policy:

  • Who is eligible to participate?
  • How many hours of volunteering are offered?
  • What are the criteria for choosing organizations to work for?  
  • What is the VTO request process?
  • How do you determine if VTO has been used properly?

 

Educate employees

Engage your employees to make sure they understand the intent of the VTO program, especially if you are introducing the policy for the first time. Be open to questions and suggestions, and make edits where necessary to ensure it works for the benefit of all the parties involved.

Develop time off request process

(VTO) requires a budget separate from PTO, so you need to organize your finances accordingly. Also, you need to adopt the requisite tools to help employees schedule VTO, confirm approval status, review balance, and perform other relevant tasks.

An all-in-one tool like Get Connected volunteer management software can facilitate these and many other processes to make the VTO program integrated and seamless.

Summary

Volunteer time off programs are becoming an indispensable tool for improving employee engagement, retention, and overall productivity in the workplace. With so many benefits coming from adopting a VTO policy in your organization, there is no better time to let your employees participate in voluntary programs in your community.

You can learn more about corporate volunteerism and see how it can positively impact your organization.

Author: Addison Waters