That’s just how we’re hardwired. It’s one thing to land a great job with great pay and benefits—that’s kind of expected. But actually getting paid to give back to your community without having it cut into your vacation time sounds too good to be true, right?
Sound crazy? It’s not. Well, at least not at Academy Mortgage where we understand the benefits of offering our employees a way to take time off from work simply so that they can spend time serving and volunteering outside the workplace.
At Academy Mortgage, we call this Volunteer Time Off hours (VTO). Similar to PTO, VTO is used exclusively as time where our employees are paid to be out of the office, volunteering and serving in ways meaningful to them.
VTO is a recent addition to the benefits offered at Academy. But already it has been used by employees to travel to distant locations to serve others, as well as remaining close to home, giving back to their local communities.
What’s clear from all the stories that we hear about these VTO experiences is that people love the sense that they’re doing good out in the community, not simply earning a paycheck. So the time spent serving boosts them as well as the community. It leads to greater on-the-job satisfaction and a general increased sense of well-being. According to Jeffrey Pfeffer, who teaches at Stanford University, people like to see that their organization returns good in ways other than bringing jobs to the communities that foster it. They want to make a positive social impact as well.
In today’s world, this social impact that companies like Academy Mortgage bring to cities is something that matters to many individuals. Love for our communities shows up in how we foster relationships with other organizations around us. So when Academy not only encourages employees to take hours off from work to volunteer at the local soup kitchen or food share but pays them to do it, our message is that we’re invested in you. That’s something we believe in.
For example, Jeanne Gillett of our Salem, Oregon branch, recently spent time volunteering at a local Food Share, where she worked alongside many others to repackage food that has been donated by local farmers and grocery stores.
“I so appreciate Academy Mortgage for providing the opportunity to do 30 hours of VTO to help and feel more connected to my community,” Gillett said, referring to her various experiences volunteering in the Food Share and a local greenhouse.
Savannah Tophoj of Oklahoma City spent time around Thanksgiving this past year at a local Rescue Mission with her son. They both came away from the experience feeling edified. “The impact these people had on us was incredible…they all had smiles on their faces and thanked us for being there…[my son] and I have already decided we want to go back.” Judging from these experiences, it’s easy to see why this benefit is so loved.
Academy Mortgage is more than an organization that makes loans happen for homebuyers. We’re working to be an integral part of all the communities we’ve put down roots in, and it begins with people.