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September 15, 2017

Giving Back: The Unexpected Benefits of CSR for Employees

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I often write about the value of corporate social responsibility from an organizational perspective, extolling the benefits that befall companies when they invest in giving back. Through leading the CSR portfolio at Ceridian, I have found that employees (including myself) benefit just as much as the company (maybe more!). So, encourage your employees to pursue their passions through activism, volunteering or giving back. Here are some of the personal benefits they can receive.

Enhance your Health

According to a survey by UnitedHealth Group and Optum Institute, 76% of U.S. adults who volunteer said that volunteering has made them feel healthier, while 94% said that volunteering improves their mood. Other studies have shown a relationship between volunteering and increased self-esteem, with volunteers reporting both greater personal empowerment and better health.

Doing for others has also been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters which have been linked to improved nervous and immune system functions. Many people report a “high” from volunteering, like the good feelings that come from exercise.

Still others have found that volunteering can even help fight depression. Helping others can take your mind off your own problems and enable you to see the bigger picture. Once you see the difference you can make in another person’s life, your own problems can seem smaller and more manageable.

Energize your Career

Volunteering can boost your career prospects! Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter National Survey reported that recruiters rank volunteer participation higher than personal presentation, political affiliations and spelling and grammar errors when looking at a candidate’s social presence.

Additionally, volunteering builds your experience. If you’re looking to switch industries or fields, volunteering in those areas can help expand both your knowledge and network. Volunteering outside of your current field may also open your eyes to opportunities and challenges you may not have come across otherwise. You can also hone and improve workplace skillsets – with, for example, project management, communication or leadership opportunities. It’s a win-win as a personal confidence booster and benefit to your workplace.

Broaden your Horizons

Some inspiring words from Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Volunteering allows you to meet people, learn new skills, and understand the issues facing your community. Once you get out of yourself and into society, you might discover that a new adventure awaits you as an active citizen of your community and of the world.

Gaining skills, knowledge and expertise are common side effects of volunteering. Giving others your time brings you interesting and challenging opportunities that might not come along otherwise. This experience can be added to your resume and could result in a better job in the future.

Importantly, volunteering and being active in your community also fosters connections – a helpful way to combat loneliness or boredom, and to make new friends.

Support your Personal Growth and Development

Volunteering is an excellent way to explore your likes and dislikes. If you’re interested in a new career, volunteer in the field first to see if you will actually like it. You may find a totally unrelated field is a much better fit for you, one you’d never consider if you hadn’t volunteered there first.

Work at a desk job but long to be outdoors? Crunch numbers all day but love being around animals? Volunteering is a fun and accessible way to explore your interests and passions while helping society and others. Volunteering at something you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine.

Now that we know all these benefits of giving back, how can you encourage your employees to incorporate giving into their lives to reap the personal rewards? Join me at INSIGHTS 2017 to learn about life hacks for giving back – strategies that can help employees incorporate giving activities into their everyday life.

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