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As the corporate environment shifts to younger generations and adults, so too do certain priorities and concerns.  These younger generations, including Millennials and Gen Z’ers, are more likely to say that it matters to them whether or not a business gives back to the local community.  This shift to more socially responsible and conscious organizations is requiring them to rethink how, and which, benefits they offer their employees.

One of the most popular benefits to emerge in recent years is volunteer time off.  So, what is volunteer time off?  In the simplest sense, volunteer time off is a benefit offered by some employers which allows employees to volunteer at a local charity or non-profit, while not taking away from their previously scheduled paid time off, vacation, or sick days.  Most employers who offer volunteer time off to their employees typically offer between eight to forty hours annually.

The Push to Give

Although millennials and their Gen Z counterparts are bemoaned for their lazy, complacent, and selfish attitudes, multiple surveys and studies have shown just the opposite.  These generations are more likely than their older generation colleagues to care about the charitable giving’s of American businesses and corporations.

In another study, nearly 66% of individuals aged 18 to 34 were at least somewhat more likely to want to work for a company that gave to charity.  This compared to 59% of those between 35-44 and 47% for people aged 45-64.  In addition, younger generations and people indicated they were more inclined to purchase from companies which contribute to charity.

Why Volunteer Time Off?

In one recent study, the Society for Human Resource Management found that approximately 21% of all American companies offer some type of volunteer time off.  This benefit was originally instituted as a means to provide employees with time to volunteer and give-back to their communities.  However, as the benefit has become more popular, companies are finding additional benefits in its implementation.

Millennial Recruitment

Recruiting and attracting younger generations is tantamount to a company’s future success.  With millennials and Gen-Z’ers indicating that a business’s charitable giving’s is important to them, it is more important than ever to offer benefits which these generations prioritize.

Community Recognition

In addition to assisting with recruiting efforts, offering a volunteer time off benefits is a great way to gain community recognition.  It is an act that will be appreciated by locals and the charities which you and your employees serve.

Marketing Efforts

Although not a main goal, offering volunteer time off is an excellent way to market your business and brand.  Your employees will receive inquiries on which company they work for and what type of work they do.  You can take this a step further by creating and providing t-shirts to your employees with your company logo emblazoned. This will help with brand awareness.

Drawbacks to Volunteer Time Off

For the most part, there aren’t too many drawbacks and negatives to volunteer time off policies.  However, the one main concern would be losing an employee for a day.  Although most companies are able to handle this loss with paid time off days and vacation days.  It may not be a showstopper but should be a consideration before implementation.

If you’re considering implementing a volunteer time off policy benefit for your employees, be sure to discuss the specifics beforehand.  You will need to determine the number of hours that employees will be allowed to volunteer on company time annually.

In addition, you will need to figure out processes surrounding accounting and documenting volunteer hours taken and how many hours remain.  You will also need to determine whether or not you would like to set specific charities as available for your employees or allow them to choose specific charities to volunteer at.

Lastly, you will also want to check-in with your insurance policy regarding a volunteer time off policy.  Such a policy may see employees leaving thee building during work hours and you will want to confirm that they will be covered in case something does happen.

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