Should HR Be The Volunteer Police?

So, here’s the number – 2.7* – an employee is 2.7 times more likely to volunteer (for charitable missions) if their boss volunteers as well.  That number presented to me at a conference recently, from a study Blue Cross/Blue Shield did in one of it’s larger organizations.  Also, an employee is 2 times more likely to volunteer if their bosses, boss volunteers. 

So, what?

At first glance it might seem like an irrelavant number – one study, about 6,000 employees – not really comprehensive enough to prove anything. You maybe right.  But as I thought about it – it seems to pass my “feel” test – it just feels right.  You know when you hear a number sometimes and it just seems valid, that what this seems like – so, I tend to believe in what the presenter was saying based on her statistics.  Here’s what else the study found:

  • Those employees who volunteer, on behalf of the company, have less atrrition (again, seems to make sense)
  • Also, those who volunteer have higher engagement scores
  • Finally, those who volunteer, have higher performance.

It’s the Hat Trick of Good Employee Metrics right? Low Turnover, High Engagement, High Performance – it’s the employees we all want.  So, how do we get them?!?!? Oh, yeah, that’s what the study was all about – Get you Leadership (managers, directors and VP’s) to volunteer – and have them invite their staff. 

So, what does this have to do with HR?

Oh, yeah – sorry, I forgot you dont’ plan holiday parties.  Pull yourself away from that fancy dashboard for a minute – I going to make you strategic.  Find a leader who already likes to volunteer or would have interest in doing it – with a little help.  Work with one or two of the countless organizations in your community right now that need volunteer help and set up the first time, be the organizer – use your “leader” sponsor to rally the troops – and just allow your employees to go an volunteer for this one thing.  Then sit back and see what happens.  It’s pretty cool.  People are talking with each other, laughing, feeling good about themselves and their company. They come back to work and the conversation will continue – the leader that was there getting dirty will be viewed differently by those attend – he or she will view those workers who attended with a new found respect.

You can be in HR, be a planner and be strategic – you have a the secret formula – you know how to lower turnover, higher engagement and higher performance – don’t you think your executives will find that strategic?

5 thoughts on “Should HR Be The Volunteer Police?

  1. Tim,
    Great post. Thanks for making me aware of an oversight in two of my recent posts – one about retaining your mature workforce and one about managing gen Y. I see now I should have included implementing a volunteer program for ALL employees.

    Older employees tend to leave companies when they feel they offer no value anymore and younger workers are searching for positions that have meaning. A program like this, with all levels of employees participating, would not only entrench the employees in the company, create a positive corporate culture but would also bridge some of the generation gaps that exist in today’s workforce.

    And yes, this is a strategic solution to attracting and retaining top talent! Thanks so much.

  2. Tim,

    This is right on the mark.

    The more connections between the organization, staff, and community, the more embedded employees become.

    I also think that your suggestion leverages intrinsic motivation–when people are provided the path to engage they do again and again, not because of incentives or policy but because it scratches a deeper itch around gratification and fulfillment.

  3. So like I said on LinkedIn – when you joining me? 🙂 I think HRU would rock a Habitat build. As part of the community relations committee, I can definitely get us in, at the right price.

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