There are many reasons for creating employee volunteer programs. Not the least of them is that corporate social responsibility is one way for rich corporations to share their wealth with people who need it. Over 14 percent of the U.S. population lives under the poverty line which is $23,836 for a family of four, and with the current cost of living in most cities, it would be pretty hard for that same family to survive without assistance. Poverty statistics are pretty frightening, because many families are living paycheck to paycheck with the stress of knowing that one catastrophic incident would put them out on the street. Employee volunteer programs give families that are making a living wage the opportunity to give something back to the community as a group with some or all of the costs picked up by their employer. These group efforts are far more effective than each family giving on their own since the collaborative efforts and funds can produce significant results.
Why Should Corporations Create Employee Volunteer Programs?
Not surprisingly, not all corporations create employee volunteer programs out of the goodness of their hearts. Beyond social responsibility, businesses gain other benefits from volunteer programs.
Average turnover among employees in all U.S. industries is 15.1 percent. For jobs that pay $75,000 or less, average cost of turnover is 20 percent of an employee’s salary. For top-level employees, turnover cost is about 150 percent of salary. Therefore, for the first group of employees, it costs approximately $15,000 to replace each one. Research from PWC shows that engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to resign than those who are disengaged. Other research from Gallup shows that companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share.
If engaged employees are less likely to resign, the question then becomes how to engage them? For corporations, volunteerism is now a win-win. They get corporate responsibility points by creating an employee volunteer program, employees get to volunteer for significant projects that allow them to give back to the community and the corporation also gets engaged employees. Turnover decreases, the corporation saves money and the community wins by receiving the results of the program.
Why Do Employees Become Disengaged?
The top reasons that employees become disengaged are:
- Non-existent or bad boss-employee relationship
- Bored, not challenged by their work
- Few or no friendships with coworkers
- Not enough opportunities to use abilities and skills
- Not contributing to the corporate goals
- Lack of autonomy
- Lack of meaningful work
- Poor organizational financial stability
- Poor company culture or feels doesn’t fit in
- Lack of management recognition of job well done
Employee Benefits of Volunteerism
Volunteerism can fill in the missing pieces for many of the reasons that employees become disengaged. For instance, volunteering in a group promotes camaraderie with coworkers and boss, alleviating issues 1 and 3. When working on volunteer projects, the corporate hierarchy collapses and everyone is essentially equal, giving people a chance to socialize without barriers. It also supplies meaningful work and a chance to use skills while helping reach the company’s goals. Another study by Cone Research found that 79 percent of people prefer working for a socially responsible company.
Disengaged employees result in $450 to $550 billion a year in lost productivity in the U.S. Engaged employees are happier at work and perform better. Therefore, it is not only a way of helping your community, but also a good business decision to create an employee volunteer program for your company.