“Why do I volunteer? Because I’m selfish.” This comment was made by CEO Mark Horoszowski in a recent Huffington Post article on corporate volunteerism. The CEO said “volunteering makes me better, and it makes my team better too.” The nonprofit sector is traditionally where we see the most volunteer activity, but businesses should be equally engaged in developing our volunteer ecosystem if we really want to strengthen our communities economically and socially. Aside from the altruistic benefit of promoting social good, a company itself can reap measurable rewards for regularly participating in community service.

Here are five reasons why your business should implement a company volunteer program:

  1. Decreased turnover. In the 21st century, we have roughly 500,000 different kinds of jobs from which to select ‘the one’ that will bring us the most fulfillment. If we believe our work offers us stimulating opportunities to solve problems, our likelihood of planning a disgruntled exit strategy decreases significantly. In fact, according to a PwC study, people who consider themselves highly engaged within their company are 87% less likely to resign than those who feel disengaged. Considering the average cost of hiring and training a new employee is 20% of their annual salary, an employee volunteer program could have a significant impact on both your overall company productivity and your bottom line.
  2. Fewer sick days. Psychology has recently seen a surge of studies demonstrating the protective health benefits of service. Volunteering has been correlated with decreased stress and chronic pain, increased self-efficacy and resilience, and longer lives—with researchers even suggesting service has a greater impact on health and wellness than exercising four times a week! How about a two for one deal? Employee volunteer program = corporate social responsibility AND workplace wellness!
  3. Improved performance. Deloitte conducted a study recently with human resources executives, 91% of whom agreed that corporate volunteerism, particularly pro bono work, is a great way to develop leadership capacity and hone other professional skills. One of the top reasons people quit their jobs is because they aren’t challenged or able to fully use their talents and skills. Volunteerism is a great way to mitigate this and has even been shown to increase employees’ creative problem-solving abilities.
  4. Improved recruitment. A Cone Research study found that 79% of people want to work for a socially responsible business. A company volunteer program is a great way to get your people directly involved in your social impact work and can help you attract top-notch recruits.
  5. Consumers like socially responsible businesses. A study conducted among nine countries and over 10,000 consumers looked specifically at attitudes and behaviors related to Corporate Social Responsibility. Ninety percent reported they would switch to brands that they knew supported social causes. Sounds like doing good = doing well!

When nonprofit and for-profit organizations work together using the resource of human capital (volunteers), the benefits are huge for your employee, your company, and your community as a whole. WIN-WIN-WIN.

You can learn more about strategic volunteerism for businesses at Anna’s breakout session during GIVE Salt Lake, October 11-12.