There’s something brewing in executive boardrooms around the world, and it ain’t pretty.

Companies are beginning to feel the impact of what Deloitte calls a “looming crisis” – employees are disengaged, no longer true believers in the company to which they signed their lives over. In fact, Gallup has shown that only 13% of employees are engaged at work. While disengagement has been lampooned in our culture for decades – think Homer Simpson – a more data-driven approach to the issue has uncovered some very interesting and uncomfortable trends.

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By Corey Diamond

According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends study, which involved surveys and interviews with more than 3,300 business and HR leaders from 106 countries:

  • 87% of HR leaders cite culture/engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50% call the problem “very important.”
  • 12% believe their organizations are excellent at effectively driving the desired culture.
  • 7% rate themselves “excellent” at measuring, driving, and improving engagement and retention.
  • 66% reported that they are updating their engagement and retention strategies.
  • Organizations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job/organizational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.

If you’re responsible for your company’s corporate citizenship activities, then you are among the small percentage of people actually meeting your company’s engagement challenges head on. You have likely seen the positive impact that volunteering has played on improving engagement in your office.

Despite this, there are times when you feel like you’re facing the battle alone, and days when you’re convinced it’s all a waste of time. We’re here to tell you (and your boss) that you’re not alone; what you’re doing is important and absolutely worth every second invested in it. And to help convince you, we here at Realized Worth have put together a simple, BuzzFeed-style list illustrating the correlation between corporate volunteering and engagement at work. The direct link between a well-designed program and overall morale and performance at the office are made obvious here, and can provide you a daily reminder of the real impact you are making in the lives of your co-workers.

How Volunteering Engages Your Employees

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87% of employees who volunteered with their companies reported an improved perception of their employer,[ref]Walker, Gavin “Businesses in Northern Ireland know its better to give than to receive”,[/ref] while 94% of employee volunteers believed volunteerism was a core component or positive influence on job satisfaction.[ref]True Impact, “Volunteerism ROI Tracker”,[/ref]

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When companies act pro-socially, employees view themselves in a positive light, generating trust between you and your employee.

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A company’s commitment to the community can live or die with middle management – employees will believe in their boss if they know they meaningfully support causes they care about.

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64% of employees who actively volunteer said that volunteering with work colleagues has strengthened their work relationships.[ref]United Health Group, “Doing Good is Good For You – 2013 Health and Volunteering Study”[/ref] Millennials who frequently participate in their company’s volunteer activities are twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive, as compared to Millennials who rarely or never volunteer.[ref]Deloitte “Volunteer Impact Survey”,[/ref]

In a major study by the University of Georgia, employees who volunteered “worked harder, were more willing to help their colleagues, [talked] positively about their company, [and] were less likely to waste time at work or miss meetings.” They just tend to be better performing individuals.[ref]Rodell, Jessica “Finding Meaning Through Volunteering: why do employees volunteer and what does it mean for their jobs?”,[/ref]

For people that volunteered within the last year:

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A 2008 study found that companies that enable employees to volunteer produce affective commitment, creating a warm perception of themselves and the organization they work for as helpful, caring, and benevolent.[ref]Grant, Russo, Dutton, “Giving Commitment: Employee Support Programs and the ProSocial Sensemaking Process”[/ref]

Are your employees or co-workers re-energized after participating in a corporate volunteering program? Reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook or comment below and tell us your story.

Corey Diamond
Partner, Business Operations
Follow Corey on Twitter
Connect with Corey on LinkedIn


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