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What Is Volunteer Time Off (VTO) and Should I Offer It?

Posted by Robin Walters on May 16, 2017 11:00:00 AM
Robin Walters

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What you do matters. That’s the idea behind VTO, or volunteer time off.

What is VTO? VTO is short for "volunteer time off" and is when companies offer paid days off for employees to volunteer their time for a non-profit cause.

Companies that embrace social responsibility offer employees paid time off to participate in community service projects. VTO doesn’t cut into sick or vacation time; it’s a tangible benefit above your regular PTO. Employers are saying that giving back to the community and your employees in this way helps put some positive spin on your brand image.

What are some of the other benefits of a volunteer time off policy? Let’s look more closely at this phenomenon and how helping others can help your business.

Why VTO?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says around 21% of American companies offer VTO. That percentage is increasing. CECP, The CEO Force for Good, puts the number much higher for enterprise-level companies, with 60% offering VTO. Some of the benefits of VTO include:

  • Recruitment

    If you’re struggling to attract top talent – and really, who isn’t these days? – a VTO policy is sure to get the attention of one key population: Millennials. Fortune published a poll last year saying 18- to 34-year-olds were more likely to want to work for a company with a history of social activism.

  • Retention

    Employees appreciate VTO, according to Fortune, who says VTO policies aid employee retention efforts. It makes sense that employees want to feel good about their jobs. Volunteering for a charity is a great way for employees to feel engaged and empowered with your team.

  • Corporate Visibility

    Fortune says employees that participate in corporate-encouraged give backs are four times as likely to talk about their volunteer efforts and spread the good word about your company. This can impact your business on so many levels, from sales to public relations.

Volunteering can also help your career, which is another reason many people find VTO days attractive. The Corporation for National and Community Service says 62.8 million adults volunteered for a charity in 2014. With more companies adopting volunteer time off as a corporate policy, we expect this number to increase. 

Are There Any Drawbacks to VTO?

Of course, there are always plusses and minuses to any human resources-related policy. There are a few drawbacks to implementing a VTO policy that may apply to your business. For example, in a small business, losing an employee for an additional day could be an undue burden. Make sure scheduling is worked out in advance before you find yourself an employee short.

Also, it might be a good idea to set some rules around the kinds of volunteering your staff can do. Some companies select two or three charities as the recipient of their volunteer efforts. That way you can avoid any PR mishaps if your employees select a charity that doesn’t align with your corporate values.

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How to Implement VTO Policies

Take some time to consider possible drawbacks and ways to counteract them before implementing your new policy. Think about how employees should request their VTO. How will you track and validate their volunteerism? How will VTO impact your business both internally and externally?

Artisan Talent gives back to our community every day by helping you find talent even in the toughest market conditions in addition to our charitable endeavors.

Looking for some employees who are passionate about VTO? Contact us to find out more!

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Tags: Employer Resources

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