Good Causes Attract Good Staff - New Study
Monday, 7th June 2004 at 1:06 pm
Companies wanting to attract and keep good staff can gain a competitive edge by supporting community or charitable causes that give their staff opportunities for involvement, a new survey has found.
And employees want to be involved in the choice of charities their companies supported as well as having the opportunity to volunteer their time to the cause.
‘Passion People’, a study that looks at the relationship between a company’s charitable commitments and the impact of this on its workforce, found that 82 per cent of respondents would rather work for a company that supported good causes, if all other employment factors were equal.
The survey – a joint initiative by Cavill + Co, a leading consultancy in Corporate Community Engagement and CRM and Seek.com.au , one of Australia’s largest employment websites – attracted more than 1100 respondents who worked for a company employing more than 10 people.
It has been described as the first independent study of its kind in Australia.
The study was sponsored by Australia Post, AMP, Optus, BHP Billiton and Energex.
Hailey Cavill, Managing Director of Cavill + Co, says the survey results are very relevant for companies concerned about the bleak employment landscape that will face Australia by 2020.
Cavill says that by then, the working age population will stop growing, and there will be insufficient people entering the workforce to meet demand. Employers will have to find dual strategies to attract young high achievers and to retain mature workers with essential skills.
She says companies that consult their employees about the cause they should support, then give them opportunities to volunteer for that cause, will gain a competitive edge over companies that have no charitable involvement.
The CEO of Seek Ltd Paul Bassat says it’s interesting to see that this type of activity appealed across the board, to all ages and salary brackets and it has the potential to attract and retain employees at both ends of the age and salary scale.
The study found it was also a powerful strategy for attracting women – 62 per cent of women say that a company’s reputation for supporting causes/charities is very important for their decision to stay with a company, compared to 37 per cent of men.
‘Passion People’ found employees strongly believed companies should support causes and charities, with 78 per cent disagreeing with the statement that it was not the job of businesses to involve themselves in the community.
Just over 60 per cent said they would like their company to do more to support a cause.
Employees want to be involved in the choice of charities or causes their companies supported, with 76 per cent saying they would like to be consulted.
They would most like their company to assist children’s charities (54 per cent), followed by projects assisting the environment (47 per cent), local community project (40per cent), youth (38 per cent), animal welfare (31 per cent), disability (28 per cent) and mental health (24 per cent). Indigenous and overseas aid causes were the lowest.
Hayley Cavill says that compared to the ‘Heart & Sold’ consumer study of 2001, this new study reveals some interesting shifts in that local community is becoming a greater priority, and with disability and mental health rising up the ladder significantly, it indicates that employees want their company to tackle some of the harder issues.
Ms Cavill says the variety of work offered through volunteering and the challenge of developing new skills are also critical to workplace satisfaction.
The survey showed that job fulfilment was far more important than salary, with the opportunity to develop skills and the variety and content of work being the two key reasons people would stay in their current employment or seek a new job.
Cavill says it is well documented that volunteering adds variety and interest to the working lives of those with repetitive or mundane work. People bring new ideas back into their organisation, and volunteering helps people become more resourceful and to think outside the square. Charity volunteering on company time could be one of the most effective and powerful training and development tools there is.
Volunteering also helps engender pride in the company, as 87 per cent of respondents said they would feel proud to work for a company that offered significant support to causes or charities.
The study also found that a company’s reputation for supporting charities can positively impact Employer of Choice. Almost half the respondents (48 per cent) said they would seek out employment opportunities at a company that had a reputation for supporting causes/charities, with 41 per cent saying that they’d even taken a job that paid less if it provided the chance to make a difference to the community.
Hayley Cavill stressed that Australian companies have a long way to go in terms of being seen as a Good Corporate Citizen.
When asked to name such a company, a significant number of respondents could not name any, with the top companies – The Body Shop, McDonald’s, Hubbards (NZ), Warehouse (NZ) and Westpac – cited by only 100 respondents.
Cavill + Co is a consultancy specialising in corporate community engagement and cause related marketing.
‘Passion People’ is the fourth study commissioned by Cavill + Co in the past seven years.
Cavill &Co has generously provided Pro Bono Australia with a copy of the full Passion People Report (value $200).
If you would like a chance to win that copy send an email providing a snapshot your organisation’s experience of corporate/workplace volunteering to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full Passion People Report can be purchased online www.cavill.com.au