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?


Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Great advise. I lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago, and host an on-line directory of more than 160 non-school tutoring and/or mentoring programs where corporate volunteers can be involved as leaders, organizers, tech support, fund raisers, and tutors and mentors. If companies use maps and directories such as this to encourage volunteer involvement, they will get more people involved in more places and have a greater impact.

Lalia Helmer said...

Thanks for your message. I myself help support a mentoring/scholarship program in my local community. As yet, we have not seen local businesses become involved in supporting this program.Your comment here is an inspiration to bring the idea of mentoring into our local business community.

business strategic planning said...

Conducting a program like this is a good business strategic planning, which is a good long term investment. This is a good plan to monitor the productivity of employees and to satisfy the company owners.

Lalia Helmer said...

Thank you for your perspective on how this fits in with a company's strategic planning.