APAC CenturyLink employees support COVID-19 relief efforts by supplying masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, Kleenex, etc. for communities in need.
The Civic 50 Colorado honorees, selected for being the most community-minded companies in the state, are doing something unusual: Paying employees to volunteer. Specifically, 78% of The Civic 50 Colorado companies offer volunteer time off (VTO), meaning they have a policy that provides employees the opportunity to conduct employee volunteering without foregoing their salary or wages. KPMG Denver Office Managing Partner, Mike Bearup, explains why these programs make sense, “KPMG’s Community Impact programs empower our people to take action, foster a culture of giving and bring KPMG’s values to life…Our Volunteer Time Release program is a critical component that supports our people in living our values and serving our communities.”
In 2020, many The Civic 50 Colorado companies have revisited their VTO policies to ensure they can be used during these especially challenging times. Some honorees-- including Bank of America and Group14 Engineering, PB-- have encouraged employees to use VTO to attend racial-justice protests. Raju Patel, Denver Market President for Bank of America, explains one enhancement they’ve made, “Nonprofits and other community-based organizations are increasingly being called upon to help the most vulnerable members of our communities and are experiencing staffing and resource challenges. To help address the health and humanitarian crisis and keep our employees safe, we’ve created virtual volunteer opportunities to lend our time and expertise to help organizations continue their important work in our communities.” QEP even increased their annual VTO hours from nine hours to 18 hours in order “to allow our employees to give more of their time to improve the quality of life in our communities where we live and work,” according to Lauren Baer, VP, Human Resources & Community Investments.
Like vacation time, employees typically need to obtain manager approval to schedule their VTO and the specifics vary by company. Some The Civic 50 Colorado honorees offer two paid volunteer hours per week, others offer one day a quarter and some offer 16 hours a year, for example. Examples of The Civic 50 Colorado honorees that offer volunteer paid time off include:
· Bank of America
· Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
· Core Contractors, Roofing Systems
· GroundFloor Media | CenterTable
· Group14 Engineering, PBC
· Kaiser Permanente Colorado
· KPMG LLP
· Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti PC
· PEAK Resources, Inc.
· QEP Resources, Inc.
· Xcel Energy
Many of these companies have survey data suggesting that this program pays off because it delivers on an expectation that employees increasingly want: Opportunities to make meaningful contributions through work. Paid-time off, then, leads to more effective recruitment, higher employee engagement and lower turnover. Research backs this contention. For example, studies find that robust community-engagement programs can attract 24% more job applicants, increase employee engagement by 20% and reduce turnover by 50%.1
Laura Love, founder and chief cultural officer of GroundFloor Media, might have expressed the value of VTO best, “Giving back not only expands our passion for life, it connects us to communities, partners and clients that share our commitment to helping people who need it the most.”
Is your company community minded? Apply to the 2020 Civic 50 Colorado! To learn more about the Civic 50 Colorado, read the 2019 research report.
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 Daniel Hedblom, Brent Hickman, and John A. List, “Toward an Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility: Theory and Field Experimental Evidence,” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 26222 (September 2019); Bea Boccalandro, “Increasing Employee Engagement Through Corporate Volunteering,” Voluntare, 2018; Rochlin, Steve, Stephen Jordan, Richard Bliss and Cheryl Kiser, “Project ROI: Defining the Competitive and Financial Advantages of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability,” 2015.