VTO stands for “Volunteer Time Off” and refers to companies that provide a certain number of hours each year for employees to volunteer, outside of company sponsored days of service.
According to the 2014 CECP report, 60 percent of 261 of the world’s largest companies offer VTO as a benefit to their employees. Doing this can be an excellent way to attract and retainexcellent talent, as well as have positive social impact on the community.
Attract: This year marks the first year in which the Millennial Generation becomes the majority of the US workforce, according to the PEW Research Center. Offering VTO to your employees can distinguish your company from others and help you recruit engaged, ambitious, and committed people. Having a flexible and generous VTO policy is a good way to attract millennials, who are more likely to expect their companies to provide this benefit and twice more likely to recommend their company to a friend as a result.
Retain: Once you’ve got the best employees, a VTO policy is a great way to help you keep them. Reports show that giving your employees opportunities as part of their jobs to volunteer builds loyalty to your company, making them proud to work for a place with such a strong community mindset.
Social Impact: Corporations play a critical role for the nonprofit sector in the areas of volunteering and giving. Companies have resources that nonprofits do not. Companies that offer VTO have a greater proportion of their employees volunteering in the community than those who do not. Providing VTO allows employees to become invested in a program that needs volunteers on an ongoing basis rather than just one-time, drop-in events. These are often tutoring or mentoring programs which have the greatest potential for large-scale, long-term community change. An added bonus is that these companies are viewed as a strong force for good in their own communities.
VTO Best Practices:
- Create a plan that outlines the vision and ideal impact of your program
- Design a program around employee’s skills, corporate assets, and your company’s core competencies. Consider going above and beyond the norm (8 hours a year) and offer 4-8 hours a month
- Secure support from the top down to ensure maximum buy in
- Cultivate long-term community partnerships with high-quality organizations that can help you achieve your vision
- Integrate volunteering in to employee recruitment, orientation, supporting materials, and team-building and social activities at work
- Collect data to measure impact
- Communicate with employees to report on and share experiences of impact