Employee Volunteer Programs Thrive with Peer Recognition

March 01, 2018

Employees want a say in their company’s volunteer efforts; involving them in the decision can increase participation and create a more involved culture.

Ask anyone who has spent a work day doing volunteer work for the community and you’re likely to get a positive answer.

“I’ve helped paint a school, tutor adult learners, and pack boxes of food for Thanksgiving,” said Ellen Virtullo, a 44-year-old graphic designer who has worked for various marketing agencies in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. “It’s always a great day. You do things that aren’t in your comfort zone, which is a great way to learn about new things; you get to know your co-workers better; and you do something good for people in your city,” she said.

So why don’t more employees participate in volunteer programs? Virtullo admitted she’s only been on those three excursions, and has probably opted out of at least 10 others. “It’s tough to step away from your job when you’re busy,” she said. “The volunteer things come and go. I don’t think people pay too much attention.”

An honest look

It’s that “attention” part that companies can easily address. By giving employees a say in their company’s volunteer efforts, employers help create a culture that values all employees. Paylocity’s Survey tool helps drive an open, honest dialogue across organizations by gathering feedback. Employers can easily create surveys where participants respond anonymously, and then responses are automatically summarized wither as a high-level overview, by question, or by respondent.

Other online tools can be used in other ways as well. By replacing—or enhancing—the traditional pat on the back and job-well-done certificate with real-time recognition viewable to all workers online, programs like Paylocity’s Peer Recognition tool helps employees recognize the achievements of their co-workers. Make no mistake, employees crave recognition. A recent survey from the U.S. Department of Labor indicated “64 percent of all working Americans leave their job because they are not recognized.” It doesn’t have to be that way.

Solutions like Paylocity’s peer-to-peer social recognition tool allows employees to recognize the good work done by their peers—and a little recognition goes a long way. Employees recognized by their peers feel a greater desire to work hard, deliver better ideas, find new ways to improve their day-to-day performance, and help contribute more to the company’s bottom line, among other benefits.

The big picture

Savvy HR managers know that peer-to-peer recognition also helps the company as a whole, as 36 percent of employees said that the ability to give and receive praise to others in a public forum helped boost intra-organization relationships.

Employers agreed that there’s value to organized events that help others outside the office, on both the giving and receiving end, so it’s important to recognize those who do the work. “Getting employees involved with company-wide philanthropy is a strategic, affordable, and health-enhancing way to boost employee morale, engagement, and retention,” wrote Alison Brehme, CEO of Virtual Corporate Wellness in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

“A little shout-out"

Virtullo said she feels a little embarrassed admitting it, but she thinks some recognition for her volunteer efforts would have gone a long way. “When we painted the school, which was actually a two-day job, we’d see each other at work the next couple of days and show each other the paint on our arms that we couldn’t scrub off and we’d high-five each other, but that was about it. It was like a little club,” she said. “My manager had no idea. It would have been great if she pulled up my name and saw ‘Ellen did a great job at Brennemann School.’ You know, a little shout-out. That would have been nice.”


Date posted: March 1, 2018


Get Their Feedback

Your employees want to be a part of creating your company's culture. Make sure they're heard through engaging surveys.

Engage with Surveys

Improve Teamwork

Give your employees the power to recognize, connect, and celebrate each other anytime, from anywhere with Recognition & Rewards.

Explore Recognitions & Rewards