Engaging Employees through Diverse Volunteer Opportunities
2019-10-24 | 6 min read
Every now and then I get a call from a company that specializes in engaging employees in volunteerism. The pitches are typically framed around how their services help motivate employees to want to volunteer in their local communities, why companies struggle with engaging their workforce in this area and how employee volunteerism is good for business. I respond with my agreement on the role of volunteerism in company success and respectfully (albeit with a bit of exuberance) let them know that engaging our workforce in volunteerism is not an issue for Keysight!
The conversation invariably moves toward the topic of how I'm able to make this claim. My first point is how community engagement and volunteerism has always been part of Keysight’s DNA, going back to Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard as the founders of our predecessor company, Hewlett-Packard. With that said, Keysight has continued to support such efforts through generations of employees, and I believe the key to this is flexibility and diversity in company-sponsored volunteerism opportunities. This past September is a great example of how Keysight provides diverse opportunities for employee volunteerism – from type of engagement, to charitable focus and even time of day!
Diverse volunteer opportunities support varied employee interests, drive engagement
Diversity in volunteer opportunities provides employees the ability to pick and choose the right engagement for them. As a corporation, Keysight focuses community efforts in the areas of environmental sustainability, health and human services and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. These areas in themselves offer a variety of choices for employees to select activities aligned with their personal passions, availability and physical capabilities. In some cases, employees bring their families to events as well, allowing them to spend time volunteering together while engaging their children, our next-generation volunteers, in the local community.
In September alone, Keysight headquarter employees had the choice between more than 15 different community engagements. All told, more than 400 site employees participated in some sort of local volunteer activity last month that allowed them to choose from a wide variety causes to support, including:
- Youth programs at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Santa Rosa, Chops Teen Club, and Social Advocates for Youth
- People with disabilities through non-profits such as California Programs for the Autistic, Inc., Canine Companions and the Earle Baum Center for the Blind
- Disease and health foundations, including the American Heart Association 2019 North Bay Heart Walk and Light The Night Walk through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Homeless and Women’s support programs such as Women's Recovery Services and The Living Room
- Food distribution programs such as the Redwood Empire Food Bank, Food for Thought and Harvest of the Heart event through the Ceres Community Project.
- Environmental opportunities including LandPaths in support of trail maintenance.
The engagements were varied as well. Employees could choose the type of effort to engage with, which spanned building maintenance, cleaning, structure building, gardening, food packing and harvesting, and trail maintenance. There were even activities such as walks and events focused on raising charity awareness and sponsorship funds.
In addition, the volunteer efforts took place at different times of the day and night, and on different days. This enabled employees to choose the right fit for their availability.
Driving employee volunteer engagement, empowering your community and business
As noted above, choice – of cause, type of effort and time/day -- has been key to helping drive employee volunteer engagement. Some employees mentioned to me how there were so many different volunteer opportunities in September that they were interested in, it was hard for them to choose! And that is exactly the point – offering multiple causes, opportunities and times to volunteer gives employees the flexibility to align their personal passions with their capability and availability. All while supporting community prosperity and building corporate culture. It is just one of the ways we ensure that engaging our workforce in volunteerism is not an issue for Keysight!