What's in it for you?
This post originally appeared on CSRwire.
Much has been made of how companies benefit from engaged employees, but let’s look at the flip side - what do employees get out of participating in workplace giving programs?
Research shows that organizations with engaged employees perform better, while billions of dollars are lost due to disengaged workers. In our experience, employees develop a deep sense of satisfaction and pride when participating in workplace giving programs, invaluable to both the employees and the business.
"This is what’s truly important in this world. Just being a person on this planet, I feel like it’s my responsibility to ensure that I’m doing all that I can to make a difference,” Sanford stated in a recent conversation.
Another acquaintance who recently changed jobs told me over lunch last week that her new employer's employee-led affinity groups were a big factor in her decision to take the job.
These are not isolated examples.
With a tidal wave of sentiment toward employer-sanctioned activism, businesses have amped up their workplace giving programs and volunteer opportunities, turning their employees into assets. Further, a Lloyd Morgan survey showed that engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization, and emotional engagement is four times more valuable than rational engagement in propelling employee effort.
But, despite the high number of workers who actively seek out these benefits, there are many others who have never participated in volunteering through their workplace, and more who might not want to get involved at all.
So how does a company make participation attractive to all employees? To increase participation, employees must first be engaged. One way to tackle this dilemma is to answer the question I started this post with: How can engagement benefit the employee?
What Does “Engaged” Mean?
Many employees come to work and simply do their jobs - no more, no less.
And at a time when many workplaces have reduced staff and are trying to accomplish more with less, engaging employees can be especially challenging. But the investment is worth it: employees who are engaged care about the success of the company and want to grow within the organization and develop their skills within the context of the business. Engaged employees talk about their companies positively outside of work and are proud cheerleaders. They're the best word-of-mouth marketers for your company.
Manner of Engagement
As EarthShare’s SVP of National Business Development Mary MacDonald discussed recently, there are six essential steps you must take before beginning a workplace engagement program, including getting leadership on board. The planning stage is very important, as are the tools that an organization employs.
However, to appeal to all employees, companies will need to look beyond that.
Companies should tailor their campaign to fit their workplace culture, and accept employee input as to what organizations they would like to support. But the manner of support should fit as well. Play to your employees’ strengths. Offering volunteer opportunities within employees’ comfort zone can spark interest and build long-term commitment.
If you run a landscape architecture firm, supporting a land conservation organization might be obvious -- but volunteering to help schoolchildren plant trees in a local park is another way to engage employees that’s related to the goals and values of the company.