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Volunteer Time Off (VTO) policies are a growing trend among companies who want their employees to commit to social responsibilities. As of 2018, almost one in four companies are implementing VTO into their policies. More companies want to combat negative perceptions of others and desire to be seen as effective agents in social issues. These companies offer employees a specific amount of time to volunteer in their communities. The benefits impact the employee, the company, and the community in different ways.

For example, volunteer work can help nurture critical skills that can carry over to the workplace. Volunteering requires numerous abilities: public speaking, collaboration, taking initiative, listening skills, and empathy are all needed to contribute effectively while volunteering. These “soft skills” can improve creativity and adaptability in the workplace. These skills may also become more important as other jobs are taken over by technology.

Implementing VTO policies can also help companies retain their employees more effectively than those who don’t offer volunteer time off. Giving employees time to serve their communities makes them more loyal to the business. Companies with a desire to give back to communities make their employees feel fortunate to work with people who are socially involved.

Allowing employees time to serve their communities may help fuel economic growth. There are other establishments who may need extra help in order to serve society effectively. Allowing employees to offer their time and their talent to other organizations who could use manpower can help companies give back to communities.

VTO policies may also attract young talent who wish to serve their societies. Although millennials are depicted as the “selfish” generation, eighty percent of millennials donate regularly to charity. A significant minority of these people also devote up to ten hours every year to volunteering. However, many millennials seem to be mercurial. Twenty-five percent of millennials would leave their job for a better opportunity somewhere else. Therefore, a company with VTO policies may be in a better position to attract young talent and retain it for long periods of time.

Other groups of people wish to add more purpose to their routine. Many older people want time to make a difference in the lives of others and no longer want to participate in a corporate culture that burns out employees. For companies wishing to update their reputation, VTO policies may be a good place to start.