Three Reasons Why Workplace Giving Matters (Now More than Ever)

Workplace Giving/Corporate Volunteering Programs and Employee Engagement: What You Need to Know
Jan 26, 2011 12:30 PM ET

As social consciousness moves firmly mainstream, social responsibility is now a greater consideration in employees’ decisions to join, stay with or leave companies. People bring their “whole selves” to work and they are increasingly looking to their employers to help them support causes that matter to them as part of their workplace experiences. 

On the brink of economic recovery, attracting, retaining and motivating employees, with its ancillary benefits on productivity, corporate reputation and brand are a top of mind issue for companies in 2011.  

Employee engagement is a complex challenge and there is no silver bullet guaranteed to magically transform employee engagement. But there are some things that matter to employees, and giving back is clearly one of them.

Workplace giving (which includes corporate volunteering or “Dollars for Doers” programs) is one key way companies can spark employee engagement. Find out why it matters now, more than ever.

1.   Attracting, retaining and motivating employees is a key challenge for all companies   People matter. The bottom line is that businesses depend on their people to succeed. All companies, regardless of size or the nature of their business, need to find, keep and engage their employees to deliver their best, which in turn, delivers business results. It’s no surprise, that executives agree that attracting and retaining people is a top challenge:
  • 97% of CEOs surveyed say that access to and retention of key talent are critical or important to sustaining growth over the long term (with 72% saying that it’s critical) (Source: PwC, 2009)

  In 2011, with the latest economic indicators hinting at a recovery from the recession, people will be more in demand relative to the past few years and have more choices in terms of where to work. Attracting, retaining and motivating people, always a key challenge, will likely be a heightened priority in 2011.   2.   Employee engagement is reportedly at an all-time low right now   Given the economic challenges of the recession (and the associated workplace reductions and increased expectations for people who kept their roles), it’s not surprising that the pulse of employee engagement is decidedly depressed. According to recent reports, employee engagement is at an all-time low:
  • 82% of employees aren’t passionate about their work (Source: 2009 Deloitte Shift Index)

  • 46% of companies experienced a decline in employee engagement in 2010 (Source: Hewitt, 2010)

  3.   Workplace giving fires up employee engagement   Ok, we want to say right up front that we know that employee engagement is a tricky beast with many variables. There is no silver bullet to magically address and improve employee engagement. But we also know that there are some issues that matter to employees: and one of them is giving back. Social consciousness is mainstream and people now expect more from the companies that they work for and with. People bring their “whole selves” to work and they expect the businesses that they work for to give back and to help them (as employees) find meaning and give back to causes that they care about.     In addition to these growing expectations, which indicate that people care more than ever about giving back, both in consumer and employment contexts, there is a growing link between workplace giving and employee engagement. In essence (though it is certainly not a magic pill), workplace giving is one way companies can fire up employee engagement. There are a number of recent reports that demonstrate this connection:
  • 80% of companies reported that their workplace giving programs were a success and when asked why they feel this way, respondents consistently answered “employee engagement and satisfaction derived from the program.” Source: (LBG Research Institute, Inc. and LBG Associates, Workplace Giving Works! Make it Work for You, 2010)

  • A 2010 benchmarking study by community investment impact firm LBG Canada reported that: “Employee engagement is an increasingly prioritized element of strategic community investment. This trend is evident in Canada as it is around the world. 100% of LBG Canada companies have some form of an employer-supported employee giving and volunteering program in place.”  (LBG Canada Annual Community Investment Benchmarking Report, 2010)

  • In an Australian study companies stated that one of the benefits of workplace giving programs include improved levels of employee engagement (Source: Australian Charities Fund, Cutting to the Heart of Workplace Giving Study, 2009)

We also think workplace giving as an employee engagement tool will be especially top of mind in 2011. And we’re not the only ones: Check out what Judah Schiller, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi wrote in his recent Huffington Post article “Engage Your Employees: 5 Must-Dos In 2011”
  • Use social good as a Trojan horse for engagement: Connecting the dots between engagement and social responsibility is no longer the "wave of the future." It's what companies need to be doing now to get ahead. Aligning your employees around a common cause that transcends generational divides, gender and ethnicity is a sure-fire way to spark a sense of purpose and belonging. When your employees feel educated, inspired and empowered around the company's commitment to social responsibility, sustainability and citizenship, the real magic starts to happen. This kind of "good work" is also what the next generation of employees is adamantly expecting from their employers.

Here’s to igniting the light in your employees in 2011 – stay tuned for more on this topic!   ­­­­­­­­­­­ Spark! by Benevity
Spark! is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) workplace giving solution designed to help companies engage their employees through giving back. Spark! is a plug-and-play solution with flexibility and choices so companies of all shapes and sizes can easily and cost effectively implement year-round employee giving with real-time corporate matching, Dollars for Doers programs, and charitable gift card capabilities. Find out more at   About Benevity
Benevity has developed North America’s first embeddable micro-donation platform, enabling socially responsible businesses to engage their customers, employees and corporate partners in optional charitable giving in new ways on their terms. Benevity lets companies integrate user-directed, tax receiptable donations and corporate matching programs into their existing transaction environments, using their own brands and systems. The Benevity platform helps companies build authentic and impactful cause marketing, workplace giving and other social responsibility initiatives that increase engagement, brand differentiation and return on social and community investment. To find out more, visit us at and view our short video at