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5 reasons to get your employees volunteering — and 3 ways to get started

Medical Guardian HR Director Liz Taylor on corporate social responsibility and how to create a culture of giving within the workplace.

The Medical Guardian team volunteering at Philabundance. (Courtesy photo)
This is a guest post by Liz Taylor, HR director of Medical Guardian.

In recent years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) — which benefits both business and society from a socioeconomic perspective — has become an increasingly popular way for organizations to move forward in their philanthropic efforts, while simultaneously improving their internal and external business growth.

The benefits of CSR are wide-reaching, and include providing the organizations that are dear to your heart with extra help and creating a giving atmosphere within your organization.

The business benefits of corporate social responsibility

CSR benefits your business internally by encouraging a positive culture and a more engaged team. A CSR program has external benefits as well, allowing you to showcase your brand and build your public reputation. Below are some examples of how a CSR program could have a positive impact on your business:

  • Increases customer base (and customer loyalty) — Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of competition out there, and everyone wants to be known as the best in their industry. According to a Nielsen study, among those who are willing to choose and pay more for a brand, two of the top purchase drivers are a company’s environmental friendliness and its commitment to social values. Overall, customers are more likely to be loyal to your brand if your company puts its values into practice and are values that are in alignment with the customer’s own.
  • Improves brand awareness — Thanks to today’s digital dependence, companies have the opportunity to promote their CSR activities, and individuals worldwide can see a company’s good deeds. Through cross-promotion of a corporation tagging a nonprofit on social media (and vice-versa), this raises awareness of one another’s brand through their different audiences. An IBM social media analysis revealed that CSR social mentions had a significant impact in shifting the views of individuals who saw the company as neutral to viewing it “positively.”
  • Promotes a positive workplace environment — Organizations that care about the lives of people outside the walls of their businesses are more likely to create a positive environment than those who do not engage in CSR. In fact, CSR is so significant to one’s work environment that, according to a 2016 Millennial Employee Engagement Study, two-thirds of millennials won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong CSR practices.
  • Strengthens internal relationships — As we help others within our local community, we are also creating and boosting employee engagement by pairing individuals from different departments to work together outside of the office. Plus, studies show increased employee engagement helps reduce turnover: Employees most committed to their jobs put in 57 percent more effort and are 87 percent less likely to resign.
  • Encourages employee professional and personal growth — The desire to make a difference has been shown to have a positive outcome on your health and well-being through personal satisfaction and sense of fulfillment. Additionally, volunteering helps develop new skills, such as leadership, and opens doors to new career opportunities through networking.

The Medical Guardian team volunteering at Broad Street Ministry. (Courtesy photo)

Creating a giving atmosphere in the workplace

Creating and engaging a team in philanthropic efforts is just as significant as finding someone to fit and exceed expectations when you’re hiring in an open position. Here’s how you can create a more giving atmosphere at work:

  • Invest in your people from the beginning — Through the interview process, actively recruit individuals who are interested in giving back to the community to ensure their philanthropic attitude is on the same page as your company’s. Find out what areas of giving they’re interested in to increase participation when a philanthropic opportunity presents itself.
  • Look for corresponding employee qualities — In the medical alert industry, we are constantly striving to find individuals who are empathetic and patient with our customers, as we exist for no other reason than to serve our customers and their families. Those attributes correlate with a willingness to assist customers and colleagues within the workplace as well as others within our local community.
  • Plan ahead — Share CSR opportunities with your staff ahead of time (we recommend at least a month of advance). This ensures ample time for employees to get approval from their managers to participate in the volunteer event, thus increasing participation. The more time they have to plan, the better!

While our dedicated employees at Medical Guardian are motivated to come into work each day to serve and protect older adults, we go a step further to give back to those in need through our CSR program. Many of the nonprofits we support are right here in our own backyard, such as Broad Street Ministry, which provides social services to people who have fallen on hard times; Paul’s Run Retirement Community, which supports people in their golden years; and Philabundance, the largest hunger relief organization in the Philadelphia region.

While volunteering is a popular activity during the holidays, the reality is that organizations need volunteers more than once a year. Hopefully, with these tips on how to create a more giving atmosphere in the office, you can make a more significant impact in your community year-round.


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