Connecticut Businesses Encourage Voluntary Community Service on Company Time

Nearly two-thirds of Connecticut companies surveyed by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association report that they pay their employees for one or two days of volunteerism, another 17 percent offer three or four paid days, and 10 percent offer five or more paid days for employees to engage in community service activities. That data was included in the newly released 2015 Connecticut Corporate Giving Survey.  The survey includes nearly 200 businesses and has a margin of error of plus or minus 7.2 report

Among survey respondents, 57 percent say they are more likely to hire candidates who are active in their communities, and one-third say customers do business with them based in part on their reputation for good corporate citizenship.  Just over half, 53 percent, say they encourage or allow employees to volunteer on company time.

Community volunteering is very important for employees who seek a higher purpose in life and look for meaning, says Khadija Al Arkoubi, an assistant professor of management at the University of New Haven: "Companies that allow it improve their employees' engagement and well-being," Arkoubi told Fast Company magazine. "They also develop their soft skills including their leadership capabilities."

The Society for Human Resource Management surveys employers about the benefits they offer. In 2013, about 20 percent said they give their workers a bank of paid time off specifically for volunteering, up from 15 percent in time

A UnitedHealth Group study in 2013 found that 87 percent of people who volunteered in the previous year said that volunteering had developed teamwork and people skills, and 81 percent agreed that volunteering together strengthens relationships among colleagues, Fast Company reported. In addition, four out of five employed people who volunteered in the past year said that they “feel better about their employer” because of the employer’s involvement in volunteer activities, according to the publication.

“It is encouraging to see that not only do many businesses provide incentives for employees to volunteer for area charities, but many voluntarily pay them for their efforts,” said Brian J. Flaherty, Senior Vice President of CBIA.  In the CBIA survey, nearly one-third of businesses (31%) said they recognize or reward employees for volunteer service.

CBIA is Connecticut’s leading business organization, with public policy staff working with state government to help shape specific laws and regulations to support job creation and make Connecticut’s business climate competitive.

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