Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keeping Your Company Stars With Volunteering

The cost of employee new hiring, training, getting employees up to speed is very high to organizations. Furthermore, employee dissatisfaction seems to be growing at an alarming rate.

In a recent report, U.S. Job Satisfaction at Lowest Level in Two Decades , the Conference Board, a global independent membership association working in U.S. in the public interest, recommended that companies look at how to address these issues to prevent a loss in worker productivity and workplace effectiveness and to improve retention rates, overall happiness, and satisfaction on the job.

The report, based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households conducted for The Conference Board by TNS, finds only 45 percent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61.1 percent in 1987, the first year in which the survey was conducted.

And in another survey done by Career Builder: Despite Competitive Labor Market, One-in-Five Workers Plan to Change Jobs in 2010, some of the key factors that influence job satisfaction and company loyalty were: sufficient training and development, management employee relations, work-life balance, and career advancement.

Organizational development and HR practicioners address these issues by assessing the root causes and applying appropriate interventions to improve loyalty morale and satisfaction. But a new trend has emerged in the evaluation of corporate philanthropy in relationship to employee satisfaction and morale and it's impact on the value of the business.

Last week I participated in a webinar hosted by BCCC, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, "Measuring community involvement: How to prove your worth" . The focus of the webinar was the effective measurement of the benefits of employee volunteer programs to a company. The best learning for me came from the research study conducted at Manulife Financial, as reported by Sarah Saso, Director, community relations. Manulife is a Canadian-based financial services company operating in 22 countries and territories worldwide.

As an introduction, Sara cited a study from the Points of Light Foundation which found that: "employees who work for organizations that are involved in the community are more likely to be engaged at work and stay with the company. * (From Points of Light Foundation “Workplace Volunteering Brief” Volume 2) "

Using an employee satisfaction survey, Manulife's study of the benefits of employee volunteerism had a similar outcome, in that their employees who engaged in volunteering were 3 times less likely to leave the company than employees who did not engage in volunteering. Furthermore, the employees who stayed with the company were their star performers, the ones who met or exceeded their performance reviews, employees that companies want the retain.

The type of volunteering activities that employees engage in are-physical labor, fundraising, technical skills, training and education, management and business skills. Manulife supports local community organizations with funds and employee volunteers and supports employee volunteering with a variety of awards and grants.
Here are some of the comments made by the employees at Manulife about their volunteer service:
Made me proud that Manulife cares about our community
Led me to believe that we are making a contribution to the community
Gave me pride in my company's image
Makes me feel more satisfied with my workplace
Gave me an opportunity to learn new skills and/or improve existing skills
Provided me an opportunity for team building and networking within my company
Makes me feel more loyal to Manulife
Better connects me with my co-workers
Led me to recommend my company to friends as a great place to work
Made me want to stay working for Manulife
HR department's involvement in the corporate philanthropy and employee volunteer programs makes a lot of sense, as these types of community volunteer programs are of benefit not only to the communities they serve but to the workplace environment. HR departments allocate a lot of resources to address employee satisfaction, training, and employee relations. Can improving employee satisfaction and receiving comments such as the ones above be as simple a matter as getting everyone to pitch in together to help others?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's Love Got To Do With Business Giving?

In honor of St.Valentines Day and the upcoming anniversary of my blog, I decided to indulge myself in some reflection on the state of business giving and the direction that it may be and should be taking. Running in my head is the famous Tina Turner song: "What's Love Got To Do With It" and as the lyrics continue:  "it's a second hand emotion."

This past year there has been so much emphasis on accountability, measurement, strategic planning, it seems as though the whole sector of non-profits and philanthropy has forgotten what the words "philanthropy" and "charity" are about. Philanthropy is about the love of others, and charity,has it roots from the Latin word for caring, "caritas".

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who has recently stepped down as the director of a board of a Jewish educational non-profit. She was lamenting the fact that foundations, their chief source of revenue, were so intent on the non-profits proving their impact with metrics, that the non-profit's visionary and innovative ideas were being stifled.

And yet, from the perspective of a business and its philanthropic giving, the value of "having a heart" has a positive effect. Following the post, BlackBaud's Wide Reach, I spoke with Melanie Mathos, the PR Manager for Blackbaud and I told her how impressed by Blackbaud's employee engagement program. "That's one of the reasons why people love to work here", she said.

Yes, it's important to understand and carefully assess to whom and the best ways to give to a charity. But, charity and giving, are not second hand emotions or even second hand ways to make a decision about where to focus your business giving.

Discovering what you and your employees care about, may very well be the first place the start.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Does Giving Inspire More Giving?

Following a post of mine from two weeks ago, From Cell Phones To Shoes:How Your Business Can Help Haiti, I received a twitter message from Jeffrey Montgomery, the Managing Partner of Omatic Software, asking" Does This Count?", and linking me to their site: "Free Help for Haiti Relief Organizations." On their web page they humbly describe their contribution to relief for this disaster by donating their Import-o-matic software solutions for free, to organizations that are providing aid to Haiti.

I wondered whether becoming involved in aiding a disaster inspires people (and more specifically businesses) to continue to be philanthropic in other ways? So, I sought some more information from Jeff about whether his company has had any philanthropic activity prior to the disaster and how becoming involved in such an effort would affect the company's culture of caring in the future.

Here is the dialogue that ensued.

Have you had any other philanthropic activities or programs other than what you are doing for Haiti?
Beyond individual employee giving, this was our first foray into organized business philanthropy. The tragedy in Haiti shocked us out of our complacency, but the answer to "what can we do?" wasn't immediately clear.

Who was the driving force behind this specific campaign and what were the motivating factors?
When Partners In Health came to us because they were overwhelmed with data processing for gifts, the light bulb went on: "Hey, this is what we do and what we're really good at, and we can use that to help the people who are doing the real work on the ground in Haiti."

How did you get the employees, partners, etc to become interested and involved?

Getting employees involved was no problem, everyone wanted to do something.

Most importantly, do you feel that now that you have become involved in a philanthropic effort, is your company likely to be doing more in the future for other causes locally or globally?

Yes, I can definitely see our organization being more involved in philanthropy after this experience. First of all because we've enjoyed doing it, but also I think that when someone realizes that they can make a difference they are more inclined to do so in the future, and the same can be said for an organization as well.

"It's not glamorous", "It's not heroic" they say on their webpage. But it is inspiring. And the key points to learn from their story are:

Even in philanthropy- do what you do best
Follow the inspiration-"the light bulb"

Enjoy what you are doing
Ask the question: What can we do? If it is not immediately obvious, keep looking for opportunities, they will come to you.

I am curious to know what others think? Does responding to a disaster like Haiti lead to more philanthropy in the future? Would love to hear from other businesses.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Business That's Changing The World

Author: Brian Weston

Everything begins as a single idea, a momentary thought passing through the mind.
When the next idea that will change the world comes into your mind what will you do? Will you ignore it? Will you fear it? Will you dismiss it? Or will you believe in it?
In 2009 something passed through my mind - what if I were to form a non-profit company that actually MAKES MONEY? Is this even possible I thought?
Who would help me begin it? ...Probably nobody...
Who would invest in it? ...Definitely nobody...
How long would I have to work on it before I saw results? ... Months... years...
If given the choice between a company like mine and a traditional for-profit company, would anyone care enough to make the switch? ...I didn't know...
BUT I STARTED ANYWAY, and in that moment Dreamer.Me was born.

- The Traditional Corporation -
A traditional corporation follows a predictable path - It starts up, gets investors who risk money in the hope of getting back more money than they risked. Eventually if it's lucky it goes public and gets a whole bunch of new investors who give it more money with the hope of getting back more money than THEY invested. In the meantime the corporation provides a service to the public.
Sounds great right? The problem with this paradigm is that things like the environment, world hunger, and many other issues are never addressed by society. Sure governments can address these problems, but they have to beg for money from their citizens in the form of taxes, not to mention the fact that large multi-national corporations have in many ways taken over and corrupted most governments. In the meantime millions of people spend their day building a better television while people around the world starve and the planet's natural environments are devastated.
Unfortunately, today's modern corporation must use its profits in the endless pursuit of "making even more profits" for the benefit of their shareholders.

- The Public-Benefit Corporation -
Dreamer.Me will be different. The citizens of the world and the world itself would be our shareholders. Our board of directors are our users who help us choose how to spend the money. Our mission is to use our profits in a way which will benefit all of humankind by spending the money were it's needed most.
I call this new type of corporation a "Public Benefit For-Profit Corporation" (PBFC)
Ok, maybe the name won't catch on but hopefully the concept will... Will this be the idea that changes the world? I don't know the answer to that either, but I will enjoy finding out.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/non-profit-organizations-articles/the-business-thats-changing-the-world-1812167.html

About the Author:Join us and we can Change the World Together! Dreamer.Me is a non-profit alternative search engine. Money generated by your searches is donated to where it's needed most. Every time you use us to search the web you make the world a better place. http://dreamer.me http://dreamer.me/how-to-change-the-world