A survey from the social platform Neighbourly indicates that employees who volunteer are 13% happier than those who do not. The survey, although conducted by across UK with 2,000 people, has important lessons for anyone who wants to better their understanding of one of the most obvious factors that improves happiness at workplace. The survey suggests that employee volunteering might be an under-utilised tool to promoted a happier workforce, yet is as important as benefits or a healthy environment in inculcating positivity, trust and loyalty.
Here are the top findings:
- Employees who have volunteered with their company are 13% happier than those who have not.
- The same employees are 15% more satisfied with their lives, and are also 15% more likely to recommend the company to others.
- Employees who volunteer are 10% more likely to trust companies and society more
Communities of volunteers from retail and FMCG brands that Neighbourly works with also mirrored the findings of the results:
- 72% feel that volunteering allows them to apply their skills, and 80% stated that the entire experience makes them feel happier
- 86% of the respondents believed that employee volunteering with local issues raises the company’s profile, and 89% want to take part in more such events.
- 100% of the respondents said that volunteering made them feel proud to work for their company,
Nick Davies, founder of Neighbourly, says, “Whilst the link between happiness and volunteering may not be a new one, the benefits and wider implications for employees, employers and the community cannot be ignored. Having greater insight into the positives of volunteering couldn’t have come at a more crucial time, when smaller community projects and charities are more in need of help than ever, due to the reduction in funding from the government, and we are trying to create transparency around that.”
As pointed out by Davies, this is not the first survey to confirm the positive relationship between employee volunteering and a happier workforce. As a matter of fact, previous studies have proven that giving employees paid time off to volunteer can increase loyalty, productivity and retention and trust. Others claim that millennials are drawn to volunteer programs and work better when allowed to undertake company sponsored volunteerism.
Indian organisations have also started to involve their employees in volunteerism and are stepping beyond the shortcuts (donate a day’s pay or old clothes and books) to ensure that employees volunteer in projects and causes that they feel passionately about. Employee volunteering in India got a new fillip when Corporate Social Responsibility laws made it mandatory for organisation to invest back in the society, supporting or undertaking developmental activities. Although it is still easier to outsource the entire process in order to ensure compliance with the law, there is a certain sense of awareness and responsibility that is slowly creeping in. It will be exciting to witness the rise and establishment of a strong social conscience of India Inc., actively involving employees in the process.
Carmel McQuaid, Head of Sustainable Business at M&S, one of the organisations that Neighbourly works with, as a part of the report, rightly puts across the idea behind employee volunteering, “Our goal is to create a positive impact in society and improve peoples’ lives wherever we touch them. That’s why we encourage our employees to give up their knowledge, time, and energy to volunteer in the communities where we operate. We know from our own experience that the value of volunteering goes well beyond the impact of a single task, it actually improves employee wellbeing and happiness in the process.”
You can view the findings of the survey here.