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The surprising effect of volunteerism in the workplace

Volunteering impacts the well-being of your employees.

For years, employers have focused their energy on encouraging their employees to eat healthy and exercise — whether it was through various interoffice challenges, weekly emails or flyers posted in each break room.

The assumption was that if your company placed an emphasis on healthy eating and exercise, your employees would follow suit and make lifestyle changes. This would lower their health care costs and increase engagement and productivity in their work.

If only that were the case.

While promoting healthy diets and exercise is great, it shouldn’t be the focal point. Healthy employees are happier, perform better and are less absent from your workplace when the six elements of well-being are addressed.

By addressing all aspects of well-being, your business can take a more holistic approach to accommodate the changing needs and wants of your employees.

“Volunteering has a positive impact on well-being — especially from an emotional standpoint," said Amanda Dorr, employer health and well-being consultant. "With such a wide variety of ways for you to incorporate a volunteer program for your employees — from paid time off, and recognition opportunities for giving back — it can be overwhelming to know where to start. We can help you identify ways to implement volunteer opportunities to meet your goals and align with your culture."

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77 percent of employees believe volunteering is essential to their overall well-being.

55 percent of employees say company support for social causes is an important factor in accepting a job.

36 percent of employees believe volunteering can help refine or develop skills to use in their career.

18 percent of employees think volunteering can enhance their career opportunities.

$1,000 to $6,000 is the amount you could save per employee by having a workplace volunteer program in place.

Sources:, Deloitte's 2017 Volunteerism Survey, and

How does offering volunteer opportunities or programs to employees help my business?

  1. Employee loyalty.

    When employees work for a company that values their community on the same level of prospering financially, employees are more loyal to their employer.
  2. It promotes and improves leadership.

    When managers (and employees) step outside of their day-to-day roles into volunteer responsibilities, they have a chance to lead others.
  3. Attracts prospective talent.

    Are you looking to hire more millennial talent? Showing that your company supports employees volunteering, or provides a solid volunteer program can attract the prospective talent you’re seeking for your business.

Does volunteering actually contribute to the overall health and productivity of my employees?

It sure does! According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, researchers have found that volunteering has a number of health benefits External Link — from lowering stress, boosting self-confidence and more — these are all fundamental for your employees to feel their best when they come to work!

  1. Employees are less likely to be depressed.

    Volunteerism can help your employees increase their social interactions and build a system of support based on common interests.
  2. Gives your employees a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills.

    Maybe you have a few employees in your workplace who are struggling to figure out what they want to do, what they are passionate about or ways to find belonging — volunteering can do just that. Not to mention, it can help them develop new and valuable skills to bring into the workplace.
  3. Reduces stress levels.

    When employees volunteer, they are exposed to social situations which naturally reduce stress and risk of diseases. When employees savor time spent in service to others, they feel a sense of meaning and appreciation.
  4. Increase in employee longevity.

    Several studies have shown that people who volunteer live longer. Researchers also say Opens in a new window that employees within your office with chronic or serious illnesses can experience improved health from volunteering.

How can I improve the current state of volunteerism in my workplace?

Investing in your employees’ well-being pays off. Not only does it lead to higher retention rates, but lower health care costs. Whether your organization has years of experience, or is in need of deeper insights — Wellmark can help.

At Wellmark, we aren’t just interested in providing programs to help remind your employees to eat a healthy, balanced diet or to get their daily dose of exercise — although important. Instead, we take a holistic approach by addressing all six elements of well-being: physical, emotional, financial, social, career and community.

Interested in learning more about how employee well-being can positively impact your organization? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative today, or email us at Send Email.