Forbes: Why Meaningful, Long-Term Volunteer Opportunities Are The Key To Engaging Your Top Talent

07 Aug 2022
There’s a humanity deficit at work. And it’s contributing to employee and manager burnout.

Originally found at Forbes

There’s a humanity deficit at work. And it’s contributing to employee and manager burnout. According to Gallup, about a quarter of your people are experiencing stress and burnout at work. The new WFA hybrid world of work—requiring us to be able to work from anywhere, including the four walls of an office building—does provide more opportunities for human connection than the all-remote world we experienced in 2020, but WFA is never going to completely fill us up with the human connections we crave. According to a Gartner Report, your people are seeking meaning and purpose more than ever now that the pandemic has become endemic. They want to contribute value and have impact. One way to achieve this is through programs that place your people as volunteers to support communities.

Providing volunteering opportunities is not a new idea. Companies like IBM and PwC have long acknowledged that volunteering can create a positive experience for their employees. What is new is how much more valuable these opportunities are, in a climate of high turnover and a new work paradigm that has created significant disconnects in the mindset of employees.

Corporate-sponsored volunteering programs traditionally consist of activities designed to serve those in need at a variety of sites, and companies often sponsor time off and regular compensation for their employees who participate. But that approach has some shortcomings; employees often don’t spend a significant amount of time in a community and instead volunteer for a specific event or for a nonprofit organization that in turn serves the community.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence available that lasting change occurs inside the communities being served, and the true impact on the individual employee is in question too. While every contribution of time and talent is useful, the one-off approach is sometimes seen as little more than a photo op for the company’s PR campaigns.

In new research published in the Academy of Management Journal, distinguished Professor Cristina Gibson of Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School studied a different type of volunteer program, which she calls corporate-community co-development. This program involved secondments (second assignments, which dispatch an employee from their regular organization) where employees lived and worked in an at-risk community for 6 weeks to 3 months. In her research, which took place over three years and involved many different companies and communities, she found strong partnerships were built, and deep psychological and social change occurred in large part because the focus was on the process.

Continue reading the original article at Forbes

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal

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