Growth, pay, and more recently, flexibility are probably the three most common pillars by which one evaluates a job. However, for the generation raised through the turn of the century and in tandem with the tech revolution, today’s young workforce is seeking out a fourth pillar in their careers – purpose.
In fact, a Gallup survey titled ‘How Millennials Want to Work and Live’ ranked ‘purpose’ as one of the top six things that can engage the generation. Whichever way you slice the demographic, as a consumer or as an employee, millennials seek out organisations that stand for more than just the bottom line. With more and more corporations and startups being led by young people and India’s working-age population making up a whopping 66%, this sense of social responsibility is taking a unique trickle-down approach in the way of corporate volunteerism.
Multiple studies have shown that volunteerism has a positive impact on stress reduction and improved self-esteem on a personal level. While at a macro level, corporate volunteer programs have been recorded to improve employee engagement and productivity while also playing a key role in talent retention.
Paying it forward
Volunteerism can be a vital link in the chain reaction of helping employees find a sense of purpose at work, and keeping them engaged. The latter being an important aspect that can ultimately dictate a company’s overall performance too. A study by SAP illustrated that there can be a $40 million shift in revenue if employee engagement rose or fell by even 1%.
Access to corporate volunteer programs doesn’t just sound great on paper, but they are well received by employees too. A survey by Deloitte on volunteerism showed that 70% of the professionals who responded thought corporate volunteer programs boost morale, create a positive work environment and are essential to well-being.
Strong communication plans
A robust communication plan on volunteering opportunities helped us bring visibility to our programs across the organisation. At the end of a particular session, this also meant recognising those who participated and giving them a platform to share their experiences.
Facilitating a conducive environment
‘Mandatory volunteering’ is an oxymoron and something that we were clear to stay away from. No matter the business benefits, an act of volunteering has to be initiated from the employee with the employer playing the role of the facilitator. On our end at BYJU’S, this meant giving employees multiple options to volunteer, scheduling sessions at timings that worked for them and collaborating with NGO partners to make the process beneficial for everyone involved.
Leverage volunteering for skill building
Corporate volunteering programs are a great way to help employees develop core skills too. Whether that is leadership, organisation, or public speaking, it offers them a neutral playing field to learn and more importantly put into practice skills that they want to develop. Many employees who volunteered as part of our Education for All initiative have noted that the sessions made them feel more confident in their skills. It’s a win-win for both the volunteer and the beneficiary at the other end.
Corporate volunteer programs are still a largely under-utilised way to build engagement especially when you consider the massive added benefit of bringing about tangible good. As workplaces go from having a transactional relationship with employees to one based on partnerships, programs like these can play a pivotal role in making an employer more holistic.