Evan Markert, Digital Project Manager

Get the Hell Out There

I must confess I haven’t physically volunteered for a while. A few years ago, I was making some big life changes. I switched from being a public school teacher to working in tech and design fields. I spent a lot of time teaching myself new skills in my spare time to make that change possible. Then, my partner and I started a family. And now I spend a lot of time being a parent.

So when I started at Bullhorn, I was glad to learn about our paid volunteer time-off policy. Each quarter, we arrange an office-wide volunteer opportunity. If that doesn’t happen, or if you can’t attend, you are encouraged to apply that time toward your volunteer activity. Paid. During the workday. Built in.

VTO is a policy. As a rule, policy is not sexy. But policies are fundamental. I’ll give you two main reasons.

First, they tend to act as both the flag in the ground and a waypost. It’s a “this is what we stand for” and “this is how you do it” that encourages action that would probably not happen at an organizational level otherwise. Our VTO policy is just one example. It says something about our values to folks on the outside. Not only is it the flag in the ground, but for those inside its doors, it's a push saying, "This is okay, now get the hell out there and do it.”

Policies are also important for accountability. As we start looking at more social impact work and how we operate with clients and partners, policies will be a way to communicate with other organizations. Do their values align with ours? Are their values just marketing on a web page, or are they real, lived out policies? That’s both the difference and the importance of policy. There’s an accountability to them, both internal and external, that separates the chaff from the wheat.