Volunteer Programs – Job Seeker & Employer Perspectives
Thursday, 22nd March 2007 at 11:09 am
New research shows that volunteering has a positive impact on recruitment, staff retention, and satisfaction and productivity – but more work needs to be done to quantify these gains.
The national umbrella organisation, Volunteering Australia with the support of the online recruitment group Seek carried out two online surveys. One asked employers about the degree to which they promote volunteer programs when recruiting while a second survey asked job seekers about their attitudes to CSR programs and in particular, employee volunteering (EV) programs.
Almost half (48%) of those recruiting staff believe that EV programs are an important factor for job seekers and reported changes in candidates’ expectations and consciousness in this area. However employers generally estimated that less than 20% of candidates make inquiries about CSR during recruitment.
Improved rates of staff retention, increased job satisfaction and productivity are commonly cited as evidence justifying the business case for CSR and EV programs.
The survey asked a series of questions to employers with EV programs if they had perceived any improvement in each of these factors, which could be attributable to their programs. If so, had the company measured or traced any changes?
The results revealed that while the majority believed retention, satisfaction and to a lesser extent productivity had improved, most could not support this with statistical evidence. Seventy-four per cent believed that it had improved staff retention levels, of which only 15% had the statistics to confirm it, while 26% could discern no influence.
Eighty-one per cent believed it improved employee job satisfaction, of which 19% could confirm with statistics, 4% did not believe it improved satisfaction and
15% were unsure.
There was a significantly higher rate of uncertainty regarding the question of improved productivity (40%). Forty-three per cent believed that productivity was improved but a much lower rate (6%) had statistical support, and 17% claimed there was no positive correlation.
A large proportion of respondents (71%) who were not measuring the reasons for retention, productivity and satisfaction indicated that they were planning to do so in future.
A corresponding survey found job seekers generally viewed CSR activities favourably and actively considered these programs when searching for work.
As many as 53% agreed with the statement that ‘CSR initiatives demonstrate real commitment to the community and they would like to work for such a company’.
Only 7% thought it was a “PR exercise”.
One quarter of all respondents indicated that they actively select jobs with companies that have CSR programs, and 47% per cent investigate a company’s approach to CSR when applying for a role, either before applying for a position with the company (15%), before being interviewed for the role (19%) or during the interview (13%).
All respondents were asked a question exploring their attitudes specifically in regard to EV programs. Sixty-eight per cent indicated that it was either a moderately important (50%) or very important (18%) factor when deciding between two similar roles. Twenty-nine per cent even nominated that they were prepared to take a lower salary if the company could offer an EV program.
Volunteering was the CSR activity that people were most likely to participate in (55%), followed by workplace giving (27%) and pro bono work (19%). Over 91% of all respondents indicated that they would be likely to participate in an EV program if they were to move to a company which offered one (62% were likely but it depended on the program, 29% were highly likely to).