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Creating VTO Programs for Employees That Have a Lasting Impact

Determining which volunteer opportunities are the right fit for you can be challenging. You have to consider professional experience, skill sets, potential limitations, and your core values before choosing one.

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Employees having a meeting
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The most successful companies usually share at least one thing in common. They understand the importance of creating and maintaining a positive reputation in their respective industries. But, ensuring that your customers are happy is only the first step. You also want to be that company people want to work for. Managing a multi-generational workforce can be challenging since each demographic wants something different from their employers. For instance, here are a few of the programs that employees from specific generations prefer:

  • Phased Retirement (Baby Boomers)
  • PTO (Gen X)
  • VTO (Gen X/Millennials)
  • Wellness Initiatives (Baby Boomers)
  • Financial Planning Services (Baby Boomers)
  • Diversity Initiatives (Gen X)
  • Mentoring Programs (Gen Y)

Did you know that Millennials represent the majority generation in today’s workforce? Further, 75% of Millennials also expect their employers to fight the good fight either through donating or volunteering in their communities. As new generations enter the labor pool, companies are reevaluating their policies to attract and retain more employees. A growing number of business leaders are focusing more on corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the key to promoting CSR appears to be volunteer time off policies (VTO). Regardless of a company’s size, there are some significant benefits to providing VTO programs. For example, enabling employees to volunteer on company time can reduce turnover, increase productivity and boost employee engagement. 

Deciding how much volunteer time off to allow employees per year is a good place to start. According to a comprehensive look at VTO in the United States, the average maximum annual volunteer hours is 20. But, it’s also common for companies to allow just one VTO day per year. The next step is exploring which groups you want to support. Polling employees regarding what charities they prefer to support is a good way to gather a list. Some popular options are animal rescue shelters, Habitat for Humanity, food pantries, national parks and even local libraries. Then, once a consensus has been determined concerning which group or groups to support, you’ll need to develop parameters to answer the following questions:

  • What employees are eligible for VTO? 
  • How often should VTO be refreshed?
  • What paperwork is required for requesting VTO?

Programs like this will always have to be reviewed at certain points in the future to make improvements. 

Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunities

Determining which volunteer opportunities are the right fit for you can be challenging. You have to consider professional experience, skill sets, potential limitations, and your core values before choosing one. Since it’s so rewarding, it then becomes tempting to overcommit yourself to volunteering. It’s important to time block an ideal weekly schedule to ensure that you’re not impeding on other personal and professional obligations. Then, explore the options that really energize you. From coaching a local youth team to helping at food pantries, there are many different possibilities to choose from that can positively impact you. Don’t hesitate to request an interview with the organization upfront to see whether or not it’s a good fit. You can even ask for a trial period to learn if it’s something you really want to commit to.

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