Offering VTO, or volunteer time off, can be a win for companies financially. It sounds paradoxical, but it’s true! Giving employees the opportunity to volunteer on your company’s time can provide benefits, such as:
- Reducing human resources costs
- Growing marketing efforts organically
- Improving company productivity and operations
Case in point? A 2012 study compared organizations that highly emphasized employees, customers, community, and the environment with a control group of organizations that didn’t. The study found the first group of organizations significantly outperformed the second in both stock market and accounting performance. Furthermore, they sustained greater governance and loyalty. The results were clear: doing good increases a company’s profitability.
How did they do it? These outperforming organizations had corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in place. In order to improve their companies overall, they focused on the triple bottom line: improve their social, economic, and environmental impacts.
So how can a VTO program can help grow your business while also creating social impact? Here are a few ways that VTO programs can help organizations just like yours.
VTO Reduces Benefits Expenses and Operational Costs
What makes or breaks an organization is its employees, so if company leaders fail to attract the best talent, they miss out on adding smart, productive, and valuable employees to their workforce. Higher turnover leads to higher costs while acquiring and retaining new employees. And not just monetary costs. As a result, more time must be allocated for these operations, which could detract from higher-priority departments.
Millennials, the dominant generation in today’s workforce, expect their employer to have CSR practices in place to help others in need. They also expect their employer to allow them to use work time and resources to give back. Therefore, it’s important companies remember this in order to find top talent. Millennials want to give back to their communities “not by writing a check, but by rolling up their sleeves.”
In addition to operational cost benefits, offering VTO can reduce expenses used for employee benefits. These typically include health and vision insurance, parental leave, paid time off (PTO) and VTO, retirement plans, or wellness programs.
The statistics on the importance of benefits to both employees and employers are telling:
- 69% of employees would leave their current job for better benefits
- 35% of millennials have turned down a job offer due to dissatisfaction with the benefits offered
- For employers, retention and recruiting were the top reasons for increasing benefits
- 83% of employers state that retaining employees is their top objective
When you look at the statistics, it’s easy to see that millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today. They have a clear passion for volunteering and social responsibility. Your role as a business is to attract these individuals, which is why offering VTO is so important–and so valuable. Furthermore, participating in VTO programs helps employees themselves. This, in turn, strengthens the company.
VTO Improves Employee Skills to Make a Business Better
Well-developed and expertly executed CSR initiatives can reduce employee turnover rate by up to 50% and increase revenue by up to 20%. However, they benefit individual employees too. A VTO program included as part of integral CSR practices can increase employee productivity up to 13% and increase employee engagement up to 7.5%.
The benefits that VTO offer set off a chain reaction for employees. Higher productivity and employee engagement lead to improved work skills like teamwork, emotional intelligence, and leadership. An employee in this environment feels they are doing meaningful work for their company, which leads to better work skills and higher perceived self-worth. This improves job satisfaction and loyalty towards their employer. The employee will likely do the best work they can, improving their individual performance, the work of their team, the work of their department and–last but not least–the company. Imagine if this one employee’s experience was the standard for all of your employees and the benefits it would bring to your business!
Wondering how to encourage employees to begin volunteering? One way is to Add volunteer time off to employee performance reviews. This resonates with career-oriented employees, as well as those who are emotionally-driven. The recognition and praise one employee’s good work receives motivates other employees to do the same.
VTO Programs Boost Company Visibility and Brand Recognition
Clearly, volunteering improves the well-being and work quality of employees, while also supporting the company’s mission. However, creating a volunteer program, especially by partnering with a nonprofit, can boost company visibility. Best of all, it doesn’t consume the existing marketing budget.
Companies with successful VTO programs are praised in the media for giving back to others. A quick Google search of “companies who offer VTO” yields some of the most successful brands in the world. Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft, Dow Corning, and NuStar appeared in results more than once. These companies are often discussed alongside the nonprofits they choose to support, giving the business and their shared mission attention–for free.
Social media is another source of brand recognition for companies who offer VTO. From employees sharing their volunteer experiences to features about a volunteer partnership, businesses gain more online visibility with VTO. While it’s possible to pay for this sort of social media attention, most often it’s organic and therefore free.
Sites like Forbes, Fortune, Inc., and The Balance examined how companies with VTO programs make an economic impact on society and why it’s a good business practice. First, companies are spotlighted as positive example for other businesses to follow. Next, this increases brand awareness. Job sites such as Monster and Glassdoor tend to focus on the positive impacts of companies with VTO programs. Job seekers can also easily see which companies build VTO into their operations. Coverage like this helps attract talented employees looking for companies offering volunteer time off.
Creating a volunteer time off program provides several long-term benefits to a company. Employees who work for companies with VTO become important stakeholders in that business. When they are engaged, their job satisfaction increases. As a result, they’re less likely to leave for another company with better-perceived benefits. They’re also getting more done for the business’s bottom line.
Offering VTO not only entices and retains skilled employees, but it also boasts a company’s image and brand name, often at no cost. Successful VTO programs, which can be done alone or through a partnership with a nonprofit, attract free coverage on TV, in print news, and on social media..
Positive word of mouth and brand recognition open up the doors for increased sales, potential partnerships, and talented job seekers. This means lower operational costs and higher revenue. So what are you waiting for? Get started with a VTO program today.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is 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.