By Elizabeth Dove and Alison Grenier
Companies trying to unlock employee motivation should direct their attention to their community investment strategy. These were the conclusions reached by Volunteer Canada and Great Place to Work Canada in recently released research based on 66,000 Trust Index survey responses from 300 Canadian organizations. This is one of the largest sample sizes of employee perspectives on community investment ever studied.
The Business Case for Giving Back highlights the connection between corporate involvement in the community and key business metrics, including employees’ long-term commitment to the organization, positive brand promotion by employees, employees going above and beyond, and employees feeling that they make a difference at work.
The findings provide undeniable proof of the increased benefits to businesses and showcase tangible ways to create a corporate community investment program that improves employee engagement.
When people “feel good about the way my organization contributes to community," they are:
The research also looked at companies in the top versus bottom quartile on community investment, defined based on average employee responses to the survey statement, “I feel good about the way my organization contributes to community." Top quartile companies enjoy the following associated business benefits:
Companies that involve their employees in giving back got the highest ranking by employees and the highest business outcomes illustrated above. Although there is no one right way to build it, a strong community investment program begins with a corporate commitment to sharing time, talent and money with the community.
Here’s what the highest rated businesses did differently than other organizations:
Best workplaces for giving back: 90 percent give their employees paid time off to volunteer, ranging from four to 100 hours per year, with 16 hours a year being the most common amount of paid time off.
Other organizations: Half offer paid time off to volunteer, 32 percent offer a set limit and 18 percent offer it on an ad-hoc basis.
How leading companies share time:
Best workplaces for giving back: 83 percent align their community investment efforts with their unique products or skills to maximize employee motivation and community impact.
Other organizations: Only 18 percent align their community investment efforts with their unique products or skills.
How leading companies share talent
Best workplaces for giving back: 100 percent match employee donations or donate money or in-kind services to community organizations.
Other organizations: 60 percent match employee donations or donate money or in-kind services to community organizations.
How leading companies share money:
As you consider your organization’s community commitments and programs alongside these findings, you may be trying to determine your next step in advancing your activities in ways that create better employee engagement. The most productive conversations include multiple departments, such as human resources, corporate responsibility and communications, along with senior leadership and external stakeholders and, of course, employees.
Start with the following questions:
For more information, read the full report, The Business Case for Giving Back. The report was produced in partnership with the Corporate Community Engagement Council (formerly the Corporate Council on Volunteering) and with the support of CIBC, Deloitte, RBC, Symcor and TD Bank.
About Elizabeth Dove: As director of corporate citizenship, Elizabeth Dove is Volunteer Canada’s organizational lead on supporting companies in their employee/stakeholder community engagement programs. She convenes the Corporate Council on Volunteering, leads the consulting practice, and collaborates with companies and nonprofits to create thought-leadership on CSR practices that provide benefit to communities, businesses, their employees and other stakeholders.
About Alison Grenier: Alison Grenier is Head of Culture & Research for Great Place to Work Canada. With a decade of experience studying the Best Workplaces, Alison leverages GPTW’s unparalleled data library to uncover emerging workplace trends and insights.
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