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Strong Employee Engagement Can Help Businesses Reach Their Bottom Line

Data clearly shows that community involvement programs—such as volunteerism, matching gifts and board service—are an effective way to engage employees, which in turn aids recruitment efforts and reduces turnover. Eighty eight percent of employers, for instance, report that successful employee engagement programs help attract employees and support employee retention.[1]  Likewise, 87% of employees who feel engaged report they are less likely to resign versus employees who consider themselves disengaged.[2]

Yet, 43% of Millennials and 61% of Gen Zers say they foresee leaving their jobs within two years, if given the choice.[3]  This indicates that many younger staff members likely feel disengaged with their jobs, and view their positions as temporary placements, drawing a disconnect between a company’s priorities and those of its employees. Our experience advising leading corporations has also shown us that, all too often, there is an untapped opportunity to engage employees through thoughtful and strategic community involvement efforts—especially among Millennials and Generation Z.

So, what are some ways companies can enhance their employee engagement through community involvement?

  • Take advantage of the hiring and onboarding process to excite employees about your company’s community involvement programs early on. PwC is a company that does this well through its new hire bike program. In partnership with Together We Rise, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the lives of children in foster care, recent PwC hires build and donate bikes as a teamwork exercise during orientation.[4] Recipients have included organizations in communities where PwC has a presence, such as the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and San Diego Youth Services, and PwC typically supplements their contribution of bikes with the donation of other products and accessories such as helmets, rear lights and skateboards.[5]
  • Think beyond traditional forms of volunteerism to leverage employees’ unique skillsets. Skills-based volunteer opportunities are on the rise, as they allow employees to enhance their professional skills while giving back. Take the LinkedIn Coaches Program, for example, in which employees apply their expertise by meeting with job seekers to review their LinkedIn profiles and offer advice on how to best market themselves through the platform. For one event, 20 LinkedIn employees in the Bay Area coached hundreds of service members, veterans and military spouses on career paths post-service. Currently, the company has held 155 workshops for job seekers, and partnered with nonprofits to host Coaches events in more than 30 cities.[6]
  • Provide opportunities for employees to support their personal passions. Research shows that 80% of companies currently offer workplace giving programs, such as Matching Gifts and Dollars for Doers, which empower their employees to make a difference with the causes about which they are most excited[7]  Of the employees who engage with these programs, 32% are less likely to leave their job compared to their colleagues who do not participate.[8]
  • Encourage employees to serve on nonprofit boards and provide the tools to lead them to success. According to the Nonprofit Board Leadership Study, 74% of respondents who do not currently serve on boards are interested in doing so. Of those employees who do serve on boards, the majority have positive attitudes regarding their experience, with 96% saying they would recommend board service to their friends and colleagues.[9]  Board service can also be a valuable tool for cultivating leadership skills among rising stars in the company. Companies may provide board service training for inexperienced members and/or incentivize board service among employees by increasing the Matching Gifts limit for individuals who serve in this way.
  • Involve employees in your company’s storytelling. Your company’s community involvement efforts are more likely to resonate with employees, and the public, when storytelling features employees. Embracing employee-generated content or stories that show employee efforts allows staff to feel connected to the company’s social mission and can also paint a positive image of the company among potential recruits.

While effective employee engagement programming has great potential to help businesses, the flipside can also be true: when people believe a company is insincere about its support for a cause, recruitment efforts can suffer, as crucial referral sources stay quiet or even dissuade others from joining a company.[10] The bottom line? Engaging employees in community involvement efforts in an authentic way—building upon employee interests and skills—contributes to business success.

[1] The Business Case for Employee Volunteer & Skills Giving Programs

[2] The Business Case for Employee Volunteer & Skills Giving Programs

[3] 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey

[4] PricewaterhouseCoopers & Together We Rise Donate Bikes

[5] PricewaterhouseCoopers Newbies Got Their Wheels Spinning for The Benefit of Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Kiddos

[6] LinkedIn Coaches

[7] BCCC 2019 Community Involvement Report

[8] Employee Giving Guide: Tips and Best Practices in the Workplace

[9] Nonprofit Board Leadership Study 2018

[10] The Authenticity Opportunity


About Brady Press

Brady Press is an Associate Director in Changing Our World’s Corporate Social Engagement Practice, where she brings experience in building employee engagement strategy, corporate volunteerism, nonprofit strategy development, research, proposal writing, and fundraising.