Millennials who frequently participate in workplace corporate volunteer programs are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees, as compared to those who do not, according to a new survey from Deloitte LLP.

 The 2011 Deloitte Volunteer Impact Survey found that 56% of millennials – employees aged 21-35 – who frequently participate in a company’s sponsored volunteer activities are likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive, compared with 28% of millennials who don’t volunteer.

 It also found those who volunteer were more likely to be very proud to work for the company (55% vs. 36%) and more likely to feel loyal toward their company (52% vs. 33%). The survey interviewed 1,500 people who work at companies with 1,000 or more employees.

 By having a volunteer program, it also helps a company’s recruitment. Of those surveyed who rarely volunteered, 61% said they consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision.

“It’s amazing how big the difference is between the people who volunteer and how they feel about their company,” says Evan Hochberg, Deloitte’s national director of community involvement.

It helps employees grow as well, Hochberg says. “They are [volunteering] side-by-side with employees at all levels,” he says. “All the challenges of internal networking . . . which are huge HR issues,” are broken down.

“The results are phenomenal,” he adds. “You do this in a corporate setting and it can be transformational  . . . how [millennials] feel about their company.”

In today’s changing workplace, volunteering is beginning to move away from the traditional HR view of a stove-piped, put on the side activity to one HR understands to be powerful relative to key HR goals, Hochberg says.

“This survey is another powerful touchpoint that I think is a signal to everyone, whether you’re a CEO or VP of HR . . . if you’re a people driven business, if that’s your focus, volunteerism is a very effective, very low-cost, . . . very powerful way of improving the culture,” he adds.

Hochberg says he is an optimist and thinks that in the next 10 years the integration of corporate volunteer programs is going to be significant.

Yet, he notes that it is not only about having a solid program but also having policies that support it.  The biggest barrier to employees not participating in their employer’s volunteer program was a lack of time, which 71% of respondents say held them back.

Some times, Hochberg explains, encouraging volunteerism but not providing the time or resources to do it can provide a mismatch and actually stress out employees.

“You can’t just talk the talk or have that philosophy,” he concludes. “[Instead] figure out whatever policies match the philosophy and fit it in the structure of how you do business.”

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