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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Volunteering Lends a Hand to Employee Engagement


Volunteering is not only good for the soul, but it is good for business too.

According to a study performed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, employee volunteer programs can have a profound impact on employee engagement levels. 

We are naturally inclined to makes sense of our place in the world, to understand our purpose and meaning.  The same holds true for employees within their organizations- they want to know that they are more than a drop in the ocean. They want to see their contributions at large. 

Employer-supported volunteer programs can help fill these gaps. When organizations are the ones providing the outlet for their employees to give back to the community, employees grow an appreciation for their company’s place in the world and their own part in making that happen. Be it with flagship corporate programs or with community service expeditions, employee volunteering translates to higher employee engagement. Here are a few reasons why. 

How does employee volunteering boost engagement levels?

  •  Improves leadership and interpersonal skills:  when employees take initiative, even outside of the office, it boosts their confidence, morale, and in turn, productivity. Volunteering ventures also give employees the opportunity to take charge and prove/improve their leadership skills.

  • Reduces isolation and increases interaction with employees in other segments and levels of the company:  employees who volunteer together, stay together. Really. Employer-supported volunteer programs encourage employees to interact with co-workers from different departments, teams, and branches. No matter the context, when employees collaborate together their relationships strengthen and they feel more connected to their organization and one another.

  • Adds fulfillment and increases sense of self-worth:  involvement in a cause promotes feeling of commitment, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. These feelings often lead to boosted morale and productivity both outside and inside of the office.

  •  Increased sense of pride and gratitude for the organization:  employees want to feel proud of the organizations they work for.  Charitable acts help shine organizations’ reputations and result in employees feeling proud of their roles and the work they do.

Aiding employees in giving back to the community strengthens their connections and commitments to your organization. And the bonus: charitable efforts that improve your company’s reputation and corporate culture will help you recruit top talent down the road. Everyone wins.

See the original study here
Read additional references here

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