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Why Volunteering is Beneficial to Your Employees’ Health

Health threeVolunteering – whether it is tutoring, serving at a soup kitchen or gardening at a community center – is a gratifying experience that can also lead to better health.

According to a Harvard Medical School study, people who regularly volunteer are rewarded with better physical and mental health. Another study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that volunteering actually increased participant’s brain functioning because volunteer activities often require both physical and mental focus.

As an employer, you want to keep your employees engaged and healthy to create a more productive environment. According to Kandi Lannen, director of wellness for Priority Health, volunteering as a workplace can lead to increased engagement, employee bonding and increase overall employee wellness.

Health oneHere are the what, where and whys to create a corporate volunteer program:

What: Volunteering as a workplace can also be an essential component to your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. Volunteer programs can help raise your company’s visibility in the community, helping to improve and maintain your company’s reputation. A Pulse Survey found that 40 percent of a company’s reputation is determined by volunteering and other corporate social responsibility activities.

Additional benefits a workplace volunteer program can provide include employee development, an increase in teamwork, improved communication and building brand awareness. Employee retention also improves through these powerful activities.

Where: Volunteer options are plentiful and varied. For any cause that is close to your employees’ hearts or that they are passionate about, there is most likely an opportunity to dedicate your company’s time. To search for opportunities, check local organizations such as churches and community centers as they often have volunteer opportunities posted on community bulletin boards and online. You can also use resources such as volunteermatch.org to help connect you with any opportunities that sync up to your employees’ interests and are in your area. Or, try calling nonprofit organizations in your area that interests employees.

Why: Volunteering as a workplace not only increases employee engagement, it helps create bonds among your employees. Lannen said companies that promote volunteerism enjoy greater employee satisfaction, higher morale, and greater productivity and profitability. Look at ways to volunteer as a company today to reap benefits for your employees and increase your overall company reputation.

How to Start: If you haven’t organized a company volunteer event before, now is the time to get started. To begin, take an employee survey or have employees make a list of causes or volunteer work they are passionate and excited about. This will increase your employee engagement. Keeping the volunteer events varied will also keep employees engaged and interested in participating.

Karen Dybis

Karen is an editor and writer for Corp! Magazine. She graduated from the University of Michigan and has worked at The Mackinac Island Town Crier, The Kalamazoo Gazette, The (Adrian) Daily Telegram and The Oakland Press. Karen spent five years at The Detroit News as a business writer with stints in retail, workplace issues and personal finance. Dybis also was a blogger on Time magazine's "Assignment: Detroit" project.

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