Sarah Ford | March 6, 2014

Volunteering for Engagement


by Courtney Buchanan

Volunteering for EngagementCompanies are facing an employee engagement problem: 70 percent of the workforce is disengaged. To provide employees value and create a workplace community, turn to volunteerism as part of the solution to disengagement, suggests Charles Coy of Cornerstone OnDemand.

Company culture matters to job seekers and current employees, and increasingly employees are looking at community outreach as part of that. ”Not only does it make employees feel more invested in their workplace, but it also gives them a more positive view of the company and is highly relevant for successfully recruiting younger generations,” writes Coy.

Plus, employers benefit from offering volunteer programs since they act as a training program on soft skills and technical skills for employees. As companies recognize the importance of community-based programs, they are increasingly incorporating the impact of community engagement in their business performance, according to Civic 50, a national initiative that ranks S&P 500 companies on their community engagement.

Three Unique Company Programs

Environmental Internship Program: Outdoor gear company Patagonia continues its advocacy for being green by offering employees the chance to work in the outdoors for a month or two. Employees have assisted with bear conservation in Ecuador and wild native fish outreach in the Northwest.

International Corporate Volunteer Program: Dow Corning, a global silicones supplier, sends employees to emerging markets where they can share their skills in business development and creative thinking. One such example is an employee who traveled to Bangalore, India, to share creativity and leadership skills to a clean stove manufacturer that needed help revamping its business process.

Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program & Earthwatch Global Ambassadors Program: High-performing employees at Ernst & Young can help up-and-coming companies in developing markets that are looking to expand and revitalize their current operations. Younger employees can engage in the environmental research program where they provide expertise and insights to local entrepreneurs.

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