The business benefits of 100% employee volunteer participation


As demonstrated by the recently published Community Involvement Study 2019, employees are the engine that drives community involvement—and its financial results. The study finds that more than 80 percent of companies rank employee engagement as a top benefit of volunteer programs, and 95 percent of the respondents that measure the connection find a positive correlation between volunteer participation and higher employee engagement scores.[ME1]

Berkshire Bank, a regional bank headquartered in Massachusetts with nearly 2,000 employees, mobilizes its workforce through the XTEAM, an employee volunteer program that organizes volunteering efforts within individual communities across the bank’s six-state footprint in a focused and individualized way. 

Berkshire Bank’s workforce is the most essential asset of its corporate citizenship efforts. Through the XTEAM, the company has achieved remarkable success, annually garnering a 100 percent participation rate among employees who contribute more than 40,000 hours of service to impact over 1 million people. The program is successful not only in how it organizes and facilitates employee engagement, but in showcasing Berkshire Bank’s companywide commitment to ensuring that employees have the time to volunteer. In addition to volunteer time off, Berkshire Bank hosts its annual “Xtraordinary Day of Service,” an event where the bank shuts down at noon and encourages each of its employees to volunteer at local service projects for the remainder of the workday. 

“It’s our purpose to help all individuals realize life’s exciting moments. We believe we can deliver on that purpose by contributing to the vitality of all our communities through the use of our human capital. We empower people to be change agents in communities across the country,” said Gary Levante, senior vice president of corporate responsibility and culture at Berkshire Bank. “Having our employees out volunteering isn’t just good for the community, it’s good for our business as it deepens employee engagement, enhances reputation, and drives a culture of social responsibility.” 

Beyond the magnitude of its impact on local communities, Berkshire Bank’s community engagement drives business, connecting its employees with members of the community while also supporting them as they build relationships. According to a Bank employee survey, in 2018, 100 percent of employees participated in the XTEAM, with 79 percent saying they learned or enhanced a professional skill. The positive impact of this participation was felt both internally and externally, with 25 percent of employees saying that they developed new business relationships as a result of volunteering and 99 percent of nonprofit partners reporting that they are likely to recommend Berkshire Bank for business. It’s impossible to argue against this kind of success—where both employees and members of the community champion the deep merits of a volunteer program. 

“At our business, our most important asset is our people, and we are eager to put their considerable skills to work to address challenges in our own backyard,” said Levante. 

By focusing its efforts to support nonprofit missions within individual communities, Berkshire Bank establishes itself as a force for good, building relationships and making an impact across its entire footprint.

Read more in the Community Involvement Study 2019, which explores how companies are investing in communities and how these efforts connect to business success.