It is becoming increasingly common for employers looking to boost engagement and retention among employees to offer paid time off for volunteer work, the Washington Post reports.
According to an annual survey of employment benefits conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 20 percent of survey respondents offered a volunteer benefit to their employees, a number that has been increasing since 2007. The report, 2013 Employment Benefits (88 pages, PDF), suggests that the practice is driven by a perception among employers that their millennial-generation employees — those born after 1980 — value volunteering for their favorite causes over cash donations to nonprofits, as well as by a sluggish economy that has taken a bite out of corporate philanthropy budgets.
Michael Stroik, senior research analyst at CECP, notes that a growing number of employers are making non-cash donations a central part of their giving strategy. "Companies see these types of programs as something that will set them apart," he told the Post.
One such company, brokerage firm Charles Schwab, gives its employees eight paid hours off each year to volunteer for an organization or cause. And while Schwab employees are encouraged to volunteer throughout the year, there is a heightened focus on giving back during the firm's annual Schwab Volunteer Week. Similarly, employees at PNC Bank receive forty hours of paid time off each year to engage in charitable activities related to the firm's Grow Up Great initiative, which focuses on improving early childhood education in PNC communities.
"We need great people," said Christopher Ullman, director of global communications at the Carlyle Group, which offers employees two days off each year for volunteer work. "And more and more, we're finding that having a volunteer program is an important benefit that people seek."