The list could go on and on, but one of the ways that many companies are fulfilling this need for in inclusion and recognition is through corporate volunteer programs. Offering employees the opportunity to give back to their communities and to organizations that are important to them not only increases employee engagement and your bottom line, but it makes good business sense. It’s no secret that giving back and helping others makes you feel good—physically and emotionally—and, often times, it's reflected through the increased interpersonal relationships among your employees.

No matter the size of your organization, attracting and retaining strong employees should always remain top of mind. Your employees keep everything running smoothly; they are your company’s greatest asset, so keeping them happy should be a priority.

When employees become disengaged with their job, it not only affects them on an individual level, but the company, as a whole, may suffer, too. As a result, companies may experience lost productivity and higher employee turnover, which can be extremely costly. According to Project ROI, a well-designed corporate social responsibility program can increase employee engagement up to 7.5%, increase employee productivity by 13%, reduce employee turnover by 50%, and increase revenue by as much as 20%. And of course, don’t forget about the impact that your company is making on the community. Impressive stats like those previously mentioned are indicative of a corporate volunteer program being a win-win for everyone involved.

So, where do you start? With your employees, of course! Let your employees have a voice. Based on the results from a study conducted by America’s Charities, 93% of employers that conduct annual workplace giving campaigns empower employees to choose which charities they contribute to. When charitable choice is given, employee participation increases. You may be surprised by how many of your employees are already passionately involved with a nonprofit organization.

Start by putting together a group of employees that may be interested in volunteering. Task them with discovering which organizations coworkers around them are actively participating in, and motivate them to encourage others to get involved with the initiative. You may be surprised to find that a number of people want to volunteer, but did't realize they had an outlet to do so.

Volunteerism in the workplace also helps increase and build on the skills that your employees use every day at work. It’s a great platform for strengthening leadership skills, encouraging teamwork, and employee development. Volunteering can also help boost self-confidence. If a volunteering role offers more responsibility than an employee is used to in their day job, and they are successful at it, tackling the feat may provide them with the confidence they were lacking. This new found confidence, undoubtedly, carries over into the workplace—creating more strong assertive employees. And, what about your brand? Corporate volunteer programs are the perfect channel to build brand awareness in your community. The visibility of your company volunteering and doing its social part to contribute to the community can have a positive effect on your brand reputation.

Creating a culture of volunteerism certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a dedicated amount of time and effort to lead your company and employees down this path, but the benefits far outweigh the energy that’s required to make this cultural transformation. No matter how comprehensive a corporate volunteer program, remember that the key takeaway is that engaging employees through volunteerism will make a difference in the overall physical and mental health of your employees. As a result, your employees overall satisfaction with your company stands to increase along with their productivity and loyalty.