Posted by: healingtheworkplace | August 3, 2009

How Does Employee Volunteering (EV) Heal The Workplace?


This week I gave a presentation to a local Rotary Club and found myself researching employee volunteerism or EV.

Employee Volunteering is an interesting concept with possible benefits for both the employee and the employer. Let’s not forget that our communities benefit too.

In Canada there has been considerable research done on this topic which you can find at You’ll have to dig around the Imagine Canada site to find the articles and resources.

As usual my research took me to a number of different sources. One of the interesting tid bits that I picked up (not really new but good to keep in mind) is that altruism…

“…the unselfish concern for the welfare of others is good for our bodies, minds and souls.” 

There has been considerable research into the health benefits of altruism. Here are some examples:

  • it strengthens the immune system
  • it decreases the intensity and awareness of physical pain
  • it releases the body’s endorphins (natural pain killers)
  • it activates emotions that are good for our health (e g JOY)
  • it reduces negative attitudes such as chronic hostility and anger that damage our bodies
  • it relieves stress

Altruism is also a “survival strategy”. Focusing on others can give you a place to stand when the rest of your world may be crumbling.

Now, here’s a question for you.

Was the concept of employee volunteering first championed by the community sector or by the business sector?

Non profit organizations certainly have a constant need for new volunteers and according to Canadian study the majority of workers in this country also volunteer outside of work.

It would be natural for non profits to partner with businesses to address community needs.

A growing number of businesses are embracing EV as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility philosophy. There are benefits for the “bottom line”.

The other factor in all of this is…both young and old alike are volunteering their time in record numbers.

According to new research from the Center for Work-Life Policy,

“concern for social welfare are alive and well among Generation Y.

The baby boomers wanted to stop war and promote peace and the echo boomers want to connect cultures and save the planet.

What’s new is that they (Echo Boomers) not only want their employers to recognize their enthusiasm, they expect them to support it.”

I just realized that I didn’t answer my original question: How does employee volunteering (EV) heal the workplace. Hmmm…I’ll write more on this subject in another post.

Have a great day and don’t forget to do something to help someone else!


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