Last week at ERC's NorthCoast 99 Awards Dinner Event, Craig Kielburger, activist for the rights of children and cofounder of the Free the Children charity and Me to We social enterprise, gave an inspiring keynote, encouraging companies to give back to their communities and make a difference through their actions in the workplace, as these actions create a ripple effect of positive change.
Not only is corporate volunteerism and community involvement in the workplace important in giving back and positively impacting our communities, but research backs that corporate philanthropy is good for the workplace and for business as it seems to benefit employers in a number of other ways. These include:
- Higher performance than competitors over the long term
- Return on investment and sales growth
- Enhanced company reputation and willingness to buy a product or service
- Increased career and job satisfaction
- Development of workplace skills
Additionally, new research conducted through the NorthCoast 99 program by ERC shows that top performers who are more satisfied with the opportunities their organization offers relative to community involvement are more likely to be engaged.
In our analysis, we researched top performer engagement levels, desire to stay at an organization, perceptions of whether an organization was a great place to work, and whether top performers felt they had sufficient opportunities to reach out to the community in relationship to the level of community involvement at all organizations that applied for the 2013 NorthCoast 99 Award.
Our results found that among top performers who were the most satisfied with the opportunities their organization provided to reach out to the community, not only were they more engaged, reported being more likely to stay at their organization, and viewed their organization as a great place to work, but their organizations reported doing more in the community. Tenure also tended to be higher at organizations where top performers were the most satisfied with their opportunities to reach out to the community.
Specifically, organizations with the most satisfied top performers, in terms of opportunities to reach out to the community, were significantly more likely to...
- Organize an organization-wide day of service
- Coordinate an organization-wide community service
- Allow employees to provide non-compensated professional services
- Communicate or promote volunteer opportunities
- Sponsor fundraisers, charitable events, and/or scholarships
- Cite a number of ways they contribute to the community or demonstrate social responsibility
Our research via the NorthCoast 99 program is not the first to find a linkage between employee engagement, retention, and volunteerism. Deloitte has found that volunteerism and community involvement contribute to the total work experience and organizational culture, which drives engagement and retention. Other studies have found that community involvement helps companies differentiate themselves from their competitors.
All in all, the research shows that corporate volunteerism and community involvement matters in the workplace in terms of attraction, engagement, and retention of great employees, but also because it's just the right thing for companies to do for the communities in which they live and work.