When Giving Back Creates a Win for Everyone

When Giving Back Creates a Win for EveryoneAs the economy continues to improve, more companies are hiring – and they're looking to hire your top talent. One way to retain your employees is to engage them. The evidence is clear: Companies with a highly engaged workforce can reduce turnover by 87%.1 And one way to increase employee engagement is through company supported volunteer opportunities.

Many of today's younger workers want more than just a job – they want to be proud of where they work, and they want to make a social contribution. In fact, workers who say they have an opportunity to make a direct social and environmental impact at work report higher satisfaction levels than those who don't – by a 2:1 ratio.2 More than 50% of millennials (those ages 20–37) were influenced to accept a job based on that company's involvement with causes.3

Research also shows the connection between emotional health and physical health and productivity. Three-quarters of people who reported volunteering in the past 12 months said that doing so made them feel physically healthier.4 And volunteers score higher than non-volunteers on nine established measures of emotional wellbeing. These include personal independence, capacity for rich interpersonal relationships, and overall satisfaction with their lives.

A 2013 study by the University of Georgia* shows that employees who volunteer usually work harder, are more willing to help their colleagues, talk positively about the company, and are less likely to waste work time. * Rodell, J. B.,

But the benefits don't stop there. Volunteering can also help your employees build important work skills, such as time management, people skills, and teamwork skills, to name just a few. Volunteering can also be good for your company's image and your community. With all these benefits, you may wonder how to encourage volunteerism in your company.

Getting started is easier than you think

As you consider the right volunteer opportunities for your company and employees, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to sponsor a volunteer activity during a workday and make it a paid activity for employees? If that doesn't work for your business, consider organizing a weekend volunteer opportunity for employees.

  • What kind of volunteer opportunity would be best for your company and your employees? A good place to start is looking for opportunities that allow your employees to use their work skills to help the community. For example, if you have mostly office workers, many non-profits can use administrative office assistance. Or, a small dental office might volunteer at a no-cost dental clinic. These types of opportunities allow your employees to use their unique skills to help others.

  • If volunteering as a company activity isn't possible, can you encourage groups of employees to volunteer for an organization?

  • Can you provide volunteer ideas/ opportunities to employees through a newsletter, email, or bulletin board posting? Individual employees can choose to volunteer, and they might include their families too.

Recognition goes a long way

To make sure volunteers get the most from the experience and stay engaged, be sure to recognize their contributions. This can be as simple as posting pictures of your employees at a volunteer event. A more formal recognition could include a lunch to celebrate volunteers. Remember, the most important part of recognition is that you make the time to do it.

Begin the conversation

Launching a volunteer program is a great way to engage employees. Be sure to include them in the conversation about volunteer opportunities and how your company can provide support. Ask employees about the organizations they support (either financially or with their time and talents). Programs that start with employee passion are often the most successful, creating enthusiasm for the idea and buy-in for volunteers. And you'll quickly see that what's good for your community is good for your business and your employees.

Programs that start with employee passion are often the most successful, creating enthusiasm for the idea and buy-in for volunteers.

ADP® is in your corner

Giving back is one way to engage employees, but it doesn't stop there. ADP can help you understand how engaged your employees are today and craft a program that will excite and unite your workforce.

1 Corporate Leadership Council.
2 Net Impact and Rutgers University, Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012.
3 2014 Millennial Impact Report.
4 UnitedHealth Group and the Optum Institute, Doing Good Is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study.
Human Capital Management
Research for Human Resources Professionals