Volunteering and business may seem mutually exclusive, or at least like two words that don't belong in the same sentence. In fact, not only can they coexist peacefully, but giving back could prove crucial to a company's long-term success.
Here at Metro Offices, we've partnered this month with the D.C.-based McClendon Center, a nonprofit that assists the mentally ill. Together, for the organization's first-ever Dignity Drive, we're collecting toiletries, socks, underwear and more at offices throughout the region. The items will go to McClendon Center clients, to help them stay living independently.
In our 25-plus-year history, Metro Offices has seen firsthand the positive impact that volunteerism has had on numerous businesses. Here, we share the top four reasons companies should regularly give back to their communities.
Attract (and keep) good people
Millennials -- who make up more than a third of the U.S. workforce -- overwhelmingly report factoring in companies' corporate social responsibility programs and track records when evaluating whether to take jobs, according to a PriceWaterHouseCoopers study. And people who volunteer regularly are more likely to feel job satisfaction and loyalty to their employers, according to a Deloitte study. So if you want to recruit today's top talent, institute, maintain or strengthen your company's existing volunteer program.
Not sure where to start? Ask your staff where in the community they'd like to volunteer. Put out a suggestions box or sheet, or send out a mass email and have one employee collect the responses. Contact one or several of the local non-profits and ask whether they could use a crop of regular volunteers. Then allow employees, in rotating small groups on a monthly or bimonthly schedule, to sign up to go lend a hand. (And don't dock anyone's pay or make them take vacation time to do it.)
In addition to giving your staff the opportunity to give back, the move will allow them to spend time with one another outside of work, likely helping build stronger relationships they'll bring back to the office.
Boost the bottom line
This may seem counterintuitive, but employees who regularly get to take time off to volunteer work harder, are less distracted and take fewer additional days off, according to a University of Florida study. They're also likely to be healthier and happier, which means less attrition and fewer sick days. Ultimately this can all lead to increased company profits.
Gain new customers
Volunteering locally means interacting with the local community -- i.e., potential customers. Since happy employees will speak well of the company they work for, they'll be providing your business with free, positive advertising when they talk about their job. And that could very possibly lead to a sale with a new customer or the signing of a new client.
Get the word out
Another fringe benefit to volunteering? Awareness building. Every person your staff encounters and talks to about your business is an additional contact made and another individual who now knows your company exists. Those you or your employees meet might not themselves become customers of your business, but they could well tell others who will become clients. Remember, the more frequently you and your staff volunteer, the better chance you'll have to expand that network.
With an expanded network, you may need expanded office space, too. Metro Offices, the leader in office-space solutions in the D.C. area, offers shared, virtual and temporary office space in multiple locations throughout the city, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Here, compare what it costs to run your own office vs. simply letting Metro Offices do the work for you.