Getting Employees More Active in Corporate Volunteering
2 October 2013 at 10:27 am
The Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM), as part of its latest research, offers its advice on how a company can get its employees more involved in corporate volunteering?
Recent research shows that corporate volunteering is regarded as very important to stakeholders and has the potential to play a more central role in business and the community.
According to the study by Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM), corporate volunteering also improves employee satisfaction, retention and engagement.
“Volunteers were more likely than non-volunteers to feel engaged, to desire to remain in the organisations for the rest of their career and to be satisfied with almost every aspect of their jobs,” the study stated.
But how does a company get their employees more involved in corporate volunteering?
Keeping it flexible
One of study’s biggest findings was the gap between awareness and actual participation with four out of five employees knowing that they could get paid leave to volunteer but only one out of four had done so.
It was also found that one of the most common reasons to stop volunteering was “less available time” and having more time was an important key to helping employers getting involved in corporate volunteering.
“Employers can find solutions that work with the time challenges of their employees such as volunteering during working hours, on the weekend, or with their families,” the study said.
“Employers need to create flexible opportunities to participate and to communicate with employees about these options to decrease the gap between awareness and participation.”
It also suggested that to increase participation, “employees need greater flexibility regarding time, location and available options, as well as better communication about the availability of these options”.
The study also found that employees look for meaningful volunteering opportunities that will make a “real difference”.
It is essential to measure and communicate the outcomes and impact of the volunteering work done by employees as they look for meaningful volunteering opportunities that will make a real difference.
“Firstly, the most important motivation to participate in corporate volunteering was ‘it makes my work more meaningful’,” the study said.
“Although corporate volunteering is typically not directly related to usual roles and tasks, volunteering can make these tasks and roles more meaningful. Corporate volunteering provides a social purpose that younger employees, in particular, are now interested in.
“In addition, when asked what would make them continue to participate in the future, participants cited ‘feeling that we are doing something meaningful’ and ‘making a real difference in the community’.
“For employees who do not participate, some of the open-ended comments included this sense of meaningfulness, expressed in, for example, ‘feeling like it makes a difference’.”
The study states that it is “ essential to measure and communicate the outcomes and impact of the volunteering work that is done by the employees”.
“These are not always easy to measure, but reporting on inputs alone (how many employees volunteer for how many hours) does not resonate with employees as much as the outcomes of services (e.g., delivering 20,000 meals) and the social impact (e.g., reducing food insecurity),” the study states.
“It is most important to communicate these results to employees. This will assist in recruiting new participants and increasing levels of satisfaction among existing participants.”
Making it accessible
As well as meaningfulness, the second most vital issue around corporate volunteering was accessibility.
As mentioned above, it was recommended that corporate volunteering needed to be accessible to employees in terms of location, time and through clear communication.
“In addition, using word of mouth, corporate volunteering champions and online communication could help spread the word,” the study stated.
According to the results, volunteering as a team or group was most popular. That was followed by paid leave volunteering, individual volunteering organised by the employer and skill-based volunteering.
Support from the top
The study also recommended that support from the direct managers and involvement of the organisational leadership was essential to increasing participation in corporate volunteering.
“… Leadership is a key. It is important for employees to know that the leadership is involved in giving time and money and this in turn can impact their decision to participate,” the study stated.
“Over one-half of the survey participants agreed that leadership is involved in giving, and this perception could be leveraged to increase participation.”