Looking to develop a more collaborative, team-oriented workplace? Studies and findings have clearly shown that creating a company culture of volunteerism in its organization can and will help its surrounding community while improving business. Employees want to make a difference not only at work but in the world, and from a business standpoint, offering volunteer initiatives engage consumers who gravitate toward doing business with organizations that are more socially responsible. Whether the volunteer focuses on climate issues, poverty, or social injustice, a shared employee mission to give back can strengthen a workplace environment while helping businesses embrace corporate accountability. These studies have shown that employee-sponsored volunteerism programs make for a more productive and engaged workforce and a greater sense of purpose for all while boosting the company’s reputation. Here are five benefits your organization will see when encouraging employee volunteerism:

1) Volunteer work is enjoyable and fulfilling:
Volunteer work is fun and energizing and allows employees to escape the day-to-day “grind” and stress of a workday. It can also be extremely meaningful and eye-opening, putting the most important things in life in perspective. Depending on the opportunity, volunteering can provide individuals with renewed creativity, vision, and motivation that can not only carry over into one’s personal life, but also their professional life. Employers committed to offering volunteer work benefit from an increase in overall employee happiness. Happier employees are likely to work harder while taking great pride in the organization they work for.

2) Organizations that take part in consistent volunteer opportunities attract new employees and retain existing workers:
In today’s extremely competitive and demanding market for talent, organizations have to highlight new and creative ways to differentiate themselves to attract new employees. Employers that promote and showcase their commitment to social responsibility and volunteerism allow prospective candidates to see their sense of purpose and meaning in how they treat their existing talent, giving them a competitive advantage in this difficult hiring landscape. This model promotes a more committed and engaged workforce, translating into noticeable and positive overall company performance.

3) Encouraging volunteering can have a tremendous impact on the community:
Organizations that create volunteer programs allow their employees to contribute to important causes that support their local community. This can include activities such as local park cleanups, providing food service for the local homeless population, or mentoring at-risk youth. These volunteer activities improve the lives of those around your employees, which fosters a more supportive and positive business environment based on their investment in time for those in need of help. These activities also create and build stronger relationships between businesses and their community. By supporting local, key initiatives and working with non-profit organizations, a company demonstrates its commitment to its community’s health. This builds community trust and goodwill, which is extremely important for businesses long term.

4) Volunteering can, in fact, bring your employees together:
Volunteering is an excellent way to bring your workforce together. Providing your employees an opportunity to work together while giving back to the community fosters deeper, more meaningful connections. Volunteering together also allows your employees to practice and hone important skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and communication, which directly translate to better working environments and a positive culture. Your employees will feel more comfortable in their day-to-day jobs and form a more cohesive team.

5) Volunteering allows employees to develop important leadership skills:
Volunteer programs and opportunities provide a fantastic platform for individuals to realize their untapped skills when it comes to discovering a path toward leadership. Many of these opportunities require planning, time management, project management, and organization skills. The opportunity to discover and develop these newfound skill sets allows employees to feel empowered and more confident in their roles at work. For the company, discovering these new leaders is a great opportunity to strengthen the entire organization.

Instituting and encouraging an employee volunteer program is a win-win situation. The community gains much-needed assistance from the volunteer efforts, and team members and employees feel a great sense of pride given the support from their organization. Employers are increasingly investing in these volunteer programs as the benefits are clear: volunteering creates a positive workplace culture and enhances organizational brand awareness.