When Companies Steal The Social Capital Of Their Employees
Recently, I spoke with the manager of a large telecommunications company in the US. The company publicly boasts a healthy and active employee volunteering program, claiming a 200% growth in participation over the past 4 years. Needless to say, I wanted to learn more about it.
During the call, I discovered several things:
1. The company offers NO paid time for volunteering.
2. Employees who volunteer have to rack up over 50 hours of service to qualify for the Dollars for Doers program (the per hour dollar was about $15 - that’s not a lot if you’re wondering.)
3. The company plans no strategic volunteering events with the community. (However, employees do plan small, local activities.)
4. The company is not comfortable with spending money to promote volunteering (apparently, the logic behind this is "volunteering is free, so why should we invest money in it?"). They are currently using fliers in lunch rooms to raise awareness.
5. The main goal of the program for the upcoming year is to get more employees to log their volunteer hours with the company.
Now, I can deal with almost all of these poor corporate volunteering practices. I get that employee volunteering is a recent trend and it takes months, even years, to develop a well-functioning and robust program. I get that corporations cannot address every lacking area at once. I even get that it takes time to understand why employee volunteering is worth significant financial investment.
However, this company's claim to a 200% growth in volunteering over the past 4 years is absurd. Their focus is not on promoting volunteering; rather their focus is on convincing employees to log their personal volunteering time as that of the company's. This is theft - pure and simple.
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