At DemocracyLab, we are fortunate to have a wide base of volunteers, from back-end engineers and UX designers to project managers and marketers, who help us build up innovative and beneficial tech projects and gain the certainty that they are making a difference in their community. While many of our regular volunteers or hackathon attendees came to us as individuals seeking volunteer opportunities that would let them leverage their skills towards a positive impact, others came to us through a corporate volunteer initiative. Surprisingly, not every company has programs which allow and encourage their employees to volunteer through their job. Companies which sponsor volunteer opportunities, such as corporate hackathons, for their staff find it benefits not only their employees, but the company itself.

Investing In Employees Always Pays Dividends

Common sense suggests that having higher satisfaction amongst employees results in a better outcome for the business, and the data backs it up. In a 2010 study, the Corporate Executive Board found that highly-engaged employees are 87% less likely to resign than their low-engagement counterparts. That same study also showed that these employees are much more inclined to give work their all, putting in 57% more effort in work related projects. [1] This means that companies who invest in creating an engaging, supportive work culture for their employees not only retain more of those they hire, but have a much more productive and enthusiastic staff. There are a number of ways to encourage enthusiasm in employees, but one thing that consistently drives engagement is providing chances to volunteer and make a positive impact.

Employees Shine When Given Volunteer Opportunities

A 2017 survey on volunteerism by Deloitte found that 69% of employees felt they weren’t spending enough time volunteering, largely because of a lack of availability during work hours. Just 38% thought their workplace gave them enough opportunity to volunteer. An astounding 89% of respondents felt that companies which provide ample opportunities to volunteer also had better work environments. [2] Not only do employees who get the chance to volunteer experience a well-earned sense of pride and satisfaction, they also enjoy a significant personal wellness boost. A 2010 study by VolunteerMatch found that volunteers just feel better, both physically and mentally. They also report a higher sense of control both at work and in life. [3] So, how can your company get its workforce energized? Have a corporate hackathon.

Doing Good And Having Fun At The Hackathon

Corporate hackathons allow large numbers of volunteers from a single company to work collaboratively on a wide variety of different tech-for-good projects. This not only encourages employee engagement by letting employees showcase their skills while advancing the public good under the company banner, it also lets team members connect with each out outside of the usual workplace environment. As your workforce tackles problems outside of your usual business scope, they’ll gain a new perspective on their skills and be inspired to create unique and innovative solutions to real-world challenges.

Teams can form around projects focused on tackling any number of issues, from climate activism to improving local government efficiency to tackling a major health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows disparate groups of employees, who might otherwise never work together, to connect over their passions and collaborate on what really matters to them. And, because these projects can go from idea to executable over the course of just one hackathon, it’s easy for both employees and employers to see the impact they are having in real time. The whole workforce will walk away energized and confident in their ability to use their skills to change the world.

Whether you're ready to jump in or looking for more information you can use to share this idea with management, visit DemocracyLab to take the next steps and boost your employee engagement and retention through tech-for-good today!