Leveraging the Link Between Corporate Volunteerism, Employee Engagement and the Bottom Line
Deloitte Insights video
If millennials ─ employees between the ages of 21 and 35 ─ frequently participate in company-sponsored volunteer programs, they are more likely to feel a strong connection and sense of belonging at work, according to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey. It all adds up to a discernable difference for companies interested in driving the “double bottom line” ─ and making both a business and a social return.
Tune into the latest episode of Deloitte Insights to learn more about the survey and the connection between volunteerism, employee engagement and the bottom line.
Sean O’Grady: Hello and welcome to Insights. Today, we’re examining the relationship between Corporate Volunteerism and Employee Engagement. And here to share their thoughts with us are Evan Hochberg, Deloitte’s National Director of Community Involvement and joining us remote from San Francisco, we’re welcoming back Barbara Adachi, the National Managing Director of Human Capital, in Deloitte Consulting. Welcome to you both.
But my first question is for you Barbara. And I would like to see, why do you see a connection between Employee Engagement and Corporate Volunteerism?
Barbara Adachi (Barbara): Thank you, Sean. I guess I’d like to start with why Employee Engagement is important to organizations. We have actually seen studies that indicate that in organizations who have engaged employees actually outperform those who do not. So, for example, this will lead to increased productivity and ultimately increased sales and profits. The other side in Employee Engagement is retention. We all know that there is a war for top talent. So, Employee Engagement directly affects retention. And we look at the elements of Employee Engagement; volunteerism is really a key part of that. Because the experience is not just around one thing, it’s not just about enjoying your work, and the culture and the environment, but the total work experience, which includes volunteerism and community involvement, which is why I believe there is a direct link.
Sean O’Grady: Well, thank you for that Barbara. Evan I would like to pitch it over to you, do you agree?
Evan Hochberg (Evan): I do. I would pick up on both dimensions, from the Employee Engagement side. Ultimately, this becomes a work-life balance issue for a company. People are passionate about volunteerism. They have grown up volunteering, they come into companies expecting to be supported in their volunteering, and yet they are busy, and their work lives and personal lives are busy. So, companies that can help employees manage that work-life balance are at an advantage. Same thing from the Corporate Volunteerism side, it is critical that we understand how powerful this link to Employee Engagement is. It is the future growth of Corporate Volunteerism. For companies to support their people, having more hours in the community, doing more impactful work, we have to understand just how powerfully it drives retention, recruitment, professional development to support our people in having those hours in community.
Sean O’Grady: Well thank you very much for that Evan. I have had the opportunity to see the study that you folks are speaking about. And it says here, if a millennial frequently volunteers, we will get to that in a sec, but if a millennial frequently volunteers with their company, they are more likely, on the whole, to feel a strong connection and a sense of belonging at work. So, my first question is: what’s a millennial?
Evan: In our study, millennials are defined as being between the ages of 21 and 35.
Sean O’Grady: Okay, so 21 to 35 year old, the youthful workforce. Can you tell me a little bit about that connection that you found in your study?
Evan: Yeah, what’s so compelling about the study is that, for the most part, it was about Employee Engagement and how millennials rate their corporate culture, their loyalty to the organization, how proud they feel about their organization. But the last question, we asked them, whether or not they are a frequent volunteer within their Corporate Volunteerism program. And by splitting the data by those that are indeed frequent volunteers and those who are not, you see some dramatic differences. Twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as being positive. Almost twice as likely in categories around how proud they are to work for their organization, how loyal they feel to their organization, and even how they feel about their individual career progression. So, the results are extremely compelling.
Sean O’Grady: Barbara, back over to you on the West Coast, does that surprise you? That the millennials feel that strong connection, or may be not?
Barbara: No, it does not surprise me at all. In fact, we had another piece of research called the Talent Edge 2020 that indicated that the number one reason that people are actually look for other jobs is that they are not satisfied with their career progression. So, now this ties back to our own volunteerism survey, which showed that people who are volunteering in the company are actually more satisfied with their career progression. So, back to the idea around the total work experience. So, again, I see a strong link between Employee Engagement, volunteerism, and retention.
Sean O’Grady: Now Barbara, I am going to stick with you there in San Francisco now. They are going to be some who are going to hear this, and they are going to argue, you are at work to do work. You know, does not volunteering take away from productivity in the bottom line. How do you feel about that?
Barbara: Well, I actually don’t agree with that, because I do believe it is about the total work experience. And when we look at people and how they are feeling on the job, if they are feeling satisfied, and they are able to complete not only their personal aspirations at work, but also giving back to the community, they are much more motivated and focused on what they need to do. So, I believe that they see this as something that matters, not only to themselves, but to the organization. I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of recruiting events recently, spanning from under grad to our graduate degrees. And I was always impressed that community involvement came up as one of the key questions repeatedly when I was doing a Q&A session. And I think this speaks to people’s interest on what the culture and the organization stands for. In fact, in a survey that we did, it was shown that even those who don’t volunteer still want to work for an organization that cares about its community, and so I believe that this is all tied together and when employees are happy and believe that they can fulfill both their work and personal aspirations and goals, they are going to be a lot more productive and focused on their job.
Sean O’Grady: How about you Evan, do you agree with that statement?
Evan: I completely agree. I would say companies absolutely should keep their eyes squarely on that bottom line and if they do that, they are going to be interested in developing and enhancing their corporate volunteer program. That drives the bottom line. In the nonprofit sector, it is very common to talk about the double bottom line; that a nonprofit organization or charity needs to achieve both its social mission, but also needs to run as a strong business or strong organization. That concept of the double bottom line is equally powerful in corporate volunteerism and corporate community involvement. Clearly, these programs are first and foremost set up to give back to the community in a way that makes a difference, but they are equally powerful, and equally being measured at Deloitte and other companies on these issues of how they drive companies’ talent strategy, even how they drive companies’ brand and marketing and reputation as well. So, definitely, keep the eye on the bottom line. But in doing so, need to appreciate that these are not just nice-to-do activities in the company, these are activities that done well, drive the bottom line.
Sean O’Grady: Thank you, for that Evan. How old are the millennials again?
Evan: Millennials in our study are between the ages of 21 and 35.
Sean O’Grady: Okay, so if an organization isn’t paying attention to those 21 to 35 year olds, is this going to affect them down the road?
Evan: It is very important to be aware of this trend. All you have to do is go on campus, and see how extensive community involvement and volunteerism activities are, or go to a corporate volunteerism activity, a day of service, a pro bono project, whatever it might be and you see the kind of passion and energy. You see the teaming that is happening across all kinds of corporate hierarchies, or different business units and you see what is going on and whether you are in Human Capital, Human Resources, or the CEO, you are going to see an energy and an interaction between employees that is unusual and being aware of that, recognizing that, and figuring out how to do that in a more integrated and effective way in a company, I think is critical if you intend to keep that kind of a culture and recruitment edge looking down the line.
Sean O’Grady: Thank you for that Evan. We are going to give final thoughts to Barbara Adachi there in San Francisco. And Barbara, I am interested to hear your take on how companies can adapt to this trend to capture, I suspect, the hearts and minds of the upcoming workforce.
Barbara: Well, I actually believe that this is a big trend among organizations today and they have recognized the importance of having that holistic workplace and workforce kind of experience. And I believe that if companies don’t do it, they are going to miss that opportunity, as you said to capture the hearts and minds of their people to really align with the passions that our people bring to the workplace. I think that they could lose an opportunity to keep that top talent that we are all going to be competing for. But, most importantly, I do believe it can be a differentiator. It is a differentiator, as Evan said, in the brand, in what companies stand for, and attracting the very best to their organization.
Sean: Thank you, very much for that Barbara. Alright, we have been talking about the relationship between corporate volunteerism and job satisfaction with Evan Hochberg in New York and Barbara Adachi in San Francisco. If you would like to learn more about Evan, Barbara, or any of the topics discussed on today’s broadcast, you can find that information and much more on our website. It is www.deloitte.com/insights/us. For all the good folks here at Insights, I am Sean O’Grady, we will see you next time.
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