EVPs: Not Really Optional Anymore

Why Increasing Employee Volunteering should be a No-Brainer

By Anthony Doran

When I began my internship with Realized Worth just a few months ago, I knew very little about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Employee Volunteer Programs (EVPs); I would like to think that I’ve made some progress since then.

Prior to my time with RW, I viewed CSR as a tool used mainly to enhance a firm’s brand, often hearing the term “triple bottom line“, but knowing basically nothing about any specific company programs. Now that I’ve begun to develop a better understanding of what CSR is about, I believe that any firm would be crazy not to invest time and money into developing effective EVPs.

Take for example the Humana Volunteer Fellowship offered by Humana, which allows their employees the opportunity to work 4 weeks full-time for a non-profit organization, including pay and benefits. With programs like this, if I didn’t respect Humana as a company and employer before, I certainly do now.

So what makes an effective EVP program?

  • A clear objective/purpose
  • Empowering employee leadership
  • Offering unique value
  • Developing partnerships

To find out more on what makes an effective EVP program, see RW co-founder Angela Parker’s recent blog post.

So what are the benefits of an effective EVP program besides improving a company’s general reputation?

  • Providing a service to society
  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Team building/skill development
  • Enhancing the recruitment process

Expanding on those:

Providing a service to society
An obvious benefit in improving the quality of any given social/environmental situation.

Increasing employee engagement
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their organization and its goals. In 2011, 71% of American workers were not engaged in their work (Gallup). And in a research paper entitled “Giving Commitment: Employee Support Programs and the Prosocial Sensemaking Process”, written by Adam M. Grant, Ph.D., Jane E. Dutton, Ph.D., and Brent D. Rosso, Ph.D., it was found that employee support program participation was associated with higher levels of employee commitment. The paper also stated that increased employee commitment was associated with decreased absenteeism and turnover in addition to increased job performance.

Team Building/Skill Development
Employees are often asked to perform unfamiliar tasks in EVP programs, which results in employees returning to work with a more comprehensive skill-set. These programs are also a great opportunity to build rapport among team members as they accomplish tasks in a generally stress-free environment.

Enhancing the recruitment process

A recent study conducted by Deloitte showed that 78% of employees would rather work for an ethical and reputable company than receive a higher salary. The same study found that 61% of rarely-volunteering millennials consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a decision on employment.

And with that, I rest my case! Increasing EVP participation is a MUST.

Let us know your thoughts about how important you think EVPs are in the comment section below. Do you know of any EVP benefits that I left out?

Anthony Doran Intern


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