The next building block in fostering a greater level of civic engagement in employees is to adapt and/or develop programs, policies and procedures to be more accommodating to, and supportive of, current employee initiatives, especially in the workplace and on company time.
As cited in the Independent Sector's 2001, "Giving and Volunteering in the United States 2001," people are much more likely to give or volunteer when asked. Ninety-five percent (95%) of households contribute when asked, compared to 79% of those that are not asked. Additionally, 63% of adults volunteer when asked to, whereas only 25% do so on their own. While no hard data is available, anecdotal evidence suggests that the same results would hold true for citizenship/public service activities. Therefore, one of the "next steps" any company can take is to encourage employees to share with co-workers how they are personally engaged in the community and allow them to ask/recruit/solicit co-workers to join them. Examples include:
- Allow employees to post information on volunteer, public service and giving opportunities on company bulletin boards/websites.
- Permit employees to set-up information booths/kiosks to educate co-workers on various service, civic and charitable causes and organizations.
- Allow employees to conduct activities that promote volunteerism, citizenship and charity, such as voter registration events, as well as food, clothing and blood drives.
- Encourage the formation of employee groups that foster volunteerism, citizenship and giving, such as volunteer councils, employee civic associations and workplace giving committees.
Schedules & Flextime
In an age where 50- and 60-hour workweeks are the norm, there is no more valuable a resource a company can give employees interested in civic engagement than time. Unfortunately, not all businesses – especially small businesses, manufacturing industries and hourly workplaces – have the ability to "give" employees time, or time-off, to volunteer, perform public service or find an organization to donate to. However, all companies, regardless of size or industry, can do a number of things to help create or free-up time during the workday to increase the level of employees' civic engagement:
- Encourage managers to consider employees' service, citizenship and charitable obligations and activities when drafting work schedules.
- Institute/adapt flex-time policies to allow employees to participate in service, citizenship and charitable activities before, during and after the workday.
- Allow employees to use their sick leave, paid leave and/or compensation time for civic engagement purposes.
- Allow employees to donate their sick leave, paid leave and/or compensation time to co-workers so that they may participate in various civic activities.
- Support alternative volunteer opportunities that can be done at any time of day or night, i.e. e-mentoring, etc.
There are a number of non-monetary resources companies can provide to support on-going employee initiatives:
- Allow employees to hold meetings and conduct events on company property.
- Permit employees to use/borrow company equipment/property that may aid in the performance and/or participation of volunteer, public service and/or charitable activities.
- Grant employees access to company vehicles for the purpose of getting to and from various civic events and activities.
- Allow employees to use the company's printing and copying resources.