Here at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we’re asked to provide insight and expertise on the complete spectrum of corporate citizenship practices. Our more than 420 member companies are interested in issues ranging from environmental impact reporting to nonprofit board placements—as well as every area in between. One issue that is consistently among the most popular topic of discussion, however, is one of the foundational elements of early CSR—employee volunteer programs. A main focus of corporate citizenship programs year-round, employee volunteer initiatives are especially popular now—during the spring and summer months—when the warmer weather offers a broader array of available activities.
The focus on employee volunteer programs is hardly surprising. Employee volunteer programs offer a myriad of benefits to both businesses and the communities they serve. Research finds that they encourage stronger employee engagement, increase retention, and better job performance. The Center’s own research supports these findings. Our 2015 Community Involvement Study finds that more than 90 percent of companies list improved employee engagement among the top three benefits of an employee volunteer program. Furthermore, companies themselves have found empirical support for the relationship between volunteering and employee engagement. Of the 60 percent of companies that measure the connection between engagement in their employee volunteer program and employee engagement, 89 percent found a positive correlation (see Figure A).During our 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, held last month in Atlanta, we had the opportunity to witness the power of that engagement in action. Thanks to Insperity, attendees had the opportunity to participate in an onsite volunteer project throughout the event. As part of the company’s Stuffed Animal Project, Insperity volunteers helped participants fill and dress stuffed animals for local children in need.
The volunteers’ enthusiasm for the project was contagious, and attendees often entered their next breakout session with renewed energy and focus. Their efforts resulted in 300 stuffed animals that were donated to the WellStar Foundation and the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation.
During the event, Insperity’s Director of Community Involvement Corinn Price provided insight into the company’s stance on employee volunteering. “At Insperity, our mission is to help businesses succeed so communities prosper,” she said. “But accomplishing the first step does not mean leaving the second to chance. Instead, action is key, and through volunteerism and community leadership, Insperity encourages all employees to get involved and make a difference in the lives of others.”
To learn more about how to enhance the relationship between employee volunteer programs and engagement, be sure to check out the Community Involvement Study 2015, as well as our complete catalog of courses for 2016-2017, including Employee Volunteer Programs with Purpose, coming to Chicago, IL, on Sept. 7-8, 2016.