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Four Ways Volunteering Can Boost Employee Engagement

8/22/18 10:37 AM

One aspect that is often overlooked when it comes to small businesses HR is employee engagement. However, employee passion is just as important and also helps to ensure that your employees are engaged. By giving your employees a chance to give back to their community you are also boosting employee engagement and their passion for your company. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey, nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) working Americans believe that companies that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment than those that do not. In fact, 70% of respondents say that volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours, and 77% say, “volunteering is essential to employee well-being.”

The theory that volunteering helps boost employee engagement is actually scientifically backed. The term for this is, prosocial behavior, or the act of doing something for the benefit of someone else. Prosocial behavior benefits those that are participating in it and in return their workplaces. In a report from Network for Good, “Employee engagement through cause is a vital means by which to strengthen employee relationships, enhance employee morale and even build critical skill sets and expertise.

There are 4 ways that prosocial behavior, through volunteering and giving back, actually impact your workplace:

1. Productivity

When employees are aligned in the same morale code and working together towards one goal, productivity within your company naturally increases.By working together in a volunteer setting, your employees are working together towards one goal. The camaraderie that is present while helping others will naturally flow over into your workplace. “Taking...actions that make a positive impact on others can boost our oxytocin levels by up to 50 percent,” writes Bryan de Lottinville in ChiefExecutive. Having your team participate in volunteering helps employees feel they are making valuable contributions to the community while simultaneously forging stronger bonds with their peers, bonds that are crucial for employee engagement.

2. Pride

Workplace pride is directly related to employee engagement. If an employee is not prideful about where they are working, they will not feel the need to be loyal to their company. People desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In fact, three-quarters of Millennials surveyed said they would volunteer more if they had a better understanding of the impact they were making, compared to 61% of those of all ages. What better way to boost company pride, than by providing philanthropic opportunities for employees of each generation?

3. Appreciation

Feeling appreciated is what makes the work grind worth it for many of your employees. Employees who feel appreciated by their employers are more likely to form a stronger emotional bond to their workplace, and are more likely to stay engaged with their work. As previously stated, the modern worker wants to feel like they are making a difference in their community. By offering philanthropic opportunities for your employees you are showing that you appreciate their input and that you want to offer aspects within the company that interest them.

4. Ethics

By offering philanthropic opportunities for your employees you are showing them that you operate on a highly ethical level. If you show your employees that you care about the community, they will assume that you operate your company on an ethical level as well. Therefore, you are creating a workplace culture that operates on ethical behavior and thoughts.


Implementing volunteerism into your company’s employee engagement efforts will prove to be more rewarding than just boosting productivity through engaged employees. Starting the efforts of philanthropy don’t have to be extravagant, like Chobani providing yogurt to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, you can start with once a month park cleanups. CauseCast recommends offering “multiple on-ramps to charitable engagement.” These “on-ramps” could take the form of any of the following:

  • Connect with a local school or playground. Whether your employees are helping repair a piece of equipment, tutor students, or talk about career opportunities with a Senior class connecting with the community is great what to implement philanthropy into your workplace culture.
  • Sponsor a workplace clothing and food drive for a local shelter.
  • Give your employees a day a month to commit to the charity of their choice. By giving your employees this opportunity, you are ensuring that they are working at bettering somewhere they are passionate about.


No matter how you choose to implement volunteerism into your workplace culture, the most important aspect is that you and your employees are giving back together.


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