“A little bit goes a long way,” as they say. You can apply that old adage to virtually anything, but it’s especially relevant when it comes to celebrating and honoring employee volunteers. Recognizing employee volunteers with meaningful appreciation makes those employees feel good and shows others within the company (and the public at large) that volunteerism is supported and valued within your organization. By building employee recognition into your employee volunteer program, you can make it a part of the process, one that continues to build on itself and strengthen your volunteer efforts — without much additional time, money, or effort.
THE BENEFITS OF EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION
When employees are active and engaged in their workplace, they’re making a difference for the company as a whole. When those employees also volunteer, they’re making an impact in their community and the world around them. When those employees are recognized for their volunteer work (whether it connects to their work in the office or not), they’re more likely to feel emotionally and mentally satisfied with their job. Their productivity will improve and they’ll also be more likely to give more time and effort to their jobs. And the science backs it up: happy employees tend to be more engaged in, involved with, committed to, and enthusiastic about their workplace. Volunteer programs and volunteer time off (VTO) are quickly becoming some of the best ways to attract and retain top talent, but the act of recognizing employees’ involvement is the only way to ensure your programs work.
WHAT SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED?
Employee awards will probably vary based on your volunteer work, but allow your employee volunteer team (EVT) members, managers, and colleagues to nominate employees for awards. They can even come up with types of awards themselves.
Some examples of employee awards include recognizing individuals who have:
- Taken on a leadership role
- Engaged others
- Met a specific goal, like amount of funds raised or goods collected
- Made a personal connection to the volunteer work
- Went above and beyond their initial commitment
Remember to highlight the impact a volunteer’s work had on the nonprofit and the nonprofit’s mission, as well. Encourage nominators to consider everyone carefully and to give as much support for their choice as possible (in numbers, if at all possible). Many committed volunteers work hard in the background and don’t advertise their accomplishments, but this is a good time to let them know you and your EVT have taken notice.
HOW SHOULD EMPLOYEES BE REWARDED?
Now that you know what to look for when honoring an employee, you should consider what to give as a reward and how to share recognition — both publicly and with the rest of the company. Rather than give your employees plaques or trophies, consider reinforcing their connection to the nonprofit, which will be more gratifying. You might give employees a free day off to volunteer or let them choose the next group volunteer project. Better yet, you can make a monetary donation to their chosen nonprofit, along with a handwritten personalized note from their manager or the CEO.
A few other fun ideas include:
- Share awards or milestones on your website or company’s social media channels.
- Include shoutouts to recognized employees in your newsletter.
- For fun visuals, create a photo gallery of award winners in your break room or lobby.
- Celebrate employee awards at your next all-hands meeting. You might even invite a representative to the nonprofit to join your celebration.
- Take out an ad in your local publication or business journal to say thank you to your employee volunteers and to spread brand awareness.
Be sure to highlight employee efforts and explain your business’s relationship with your nonprofit partners. This is a powerful way to promote your company, its volunteer efforts, give exposure to the nonprofit, and recognize your employees’ volunteer work. Studies show again and again that employees aren’t motivated by increased pay or promotions; they’re motivated by simple appreciation… so make sure you’re offering it.
Want a way to track your employee volunteers’ efforts to make rewards and incentives even easier? Check out NobleHour.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. Our plug ‘n play software connects companies, and individuals with nonprofits. Volunteer, measure the good you’re doing, and share it with others.
With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the we are dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Staff:
Director of Marketing
Allison is the Director of Marketing for TreeTop Commons, and its products; NobleHour and Collaboratory. A Portland native, Allison volunteers regularly for community nonprofits that support sustainability programs, and at her childrens’ school teaching art literacy.