Research study conducted by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship emphasizes that the community involvement contributes to key business goals including improved reputation and the attraction and retention of employees. Nearly 90 percent of the companies that measure the connection between volunteer participation and employee engagement found a positive correlation between participation and engagement scores. Companies are increasingly tying their community involvement efforts to their business strategy, and prioritizing social goals that are most relevant to their operating contexts.
By engaging employees in corporate citizenship, any organization can derive a variety of benefits, including: greater productivity, improved reputation, increased employee retention, and lower cost of recruiting. A recent Gallup study found that 70 percent of U.S. employees are disengaged at work (87 percent of workers globally), and estimates that actively disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses $450–$550 billion per year in productivity losses. Corporate citizenship initiatives, especially volunteer and giving programs, have the potential to increase engagement.
Engaging employees volunteer opportunities provides individuals with an outlet for sharing their talents. It also grants them an opportunity to build meaningful networks both within the company and with external stakeholders. Empirical research shows consistently that engaged employees feel more positively about their jobs and are more productive. When you employ CSR programs that provide employees with opportunities to develop, challenge themselves, and form meaningful connections to peers within the company and in the broader community, you can help your company reap the benefits of an engaged workforce.
Given the fierce competition for talented employees and the growing commitment to corporate citizenship, there is increasing evidence that a company’s corporate citizenship activities are a legitimate, compelling and increasingly important way to engage and retain top talent (Bhattacharya, Sen & Korschun, 2008). Corporate citizenship includes a variety of activities ranging from cash or gift donations to volunteering programs to socially responsible products and services.
Employee volunteers are perhaps the greatest asset companies can leverage when trying to have a positive impact in the communities where they operate and do business. Employee Volunteer Programs allow companies to make a difference at a much lower cost than traditional checkbook philanthropy. Nonprofit partners are often an essential part of volunteering that can ensure employee efforts address a critical social need. Volunteer work also provides companies and employees with a hands-on perspective on the good they can accomplish through corporate citizenship.
Employer-supported volunteering gives companies a personal presence in the community that its daily operations may not offer, particularly for companies that are not consumer facing. As with all aspects of corporate citizenship, a strategic approach to corporate volunteerism enhances the social and business value it creates.
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