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Employee Volunteer Programs: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

27 August, 2015

Lisa Landis

CEBer since 2010

Organizing an Employee Volunteer Program is flat-out the right thing for any corporation to do. As fellow citizens of earth, we all have a responsibility to positively affect society—in the arts, sports, human services, education, etc. So many opportunities exist to use your personal skills and passions for good.

Across the last several years, corporate volunteer programs have become more common. Our research has shown that senior HR executives face an increasingly competitive labor market, and almost 50% of senior HR executives expected greater employee turnover across 2014. To compete in the labor market, companies are increasingly turning to their Employee Value Propositions to retain talent.

In 2014, we worked with volunteer service organization the Points of Light Foundation to examine Employee Volunteer Programs. We set out to answer these questions:

Employees love these programs.

CEB Volunteers

Nearly 72% of our 996 Global Employee Panel survey respondents expressed pride in working for an organization that provides opportunities to volunteer. When we dug into why exactly these programs appealed to employees, we found something interesting: a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. We identified three types of employees: those who are socially motivated, those who are professionally motivated, and those who are not motivated to volunteer.

Socially motivated employees:

Professionally motivated employees:

Which category fits you?

Socially motivated employees volunteer because they like it and because they’ll get to be with colleagues (e.g. “Sue from Accounting is going? Oh, haven’t seen her in ages!”). These folks love the annual service day events. Professionally motivated volunteers choose opportunities that will help them advance their career. Pro bono volunteering is the sweet spot here; skill development coupled with senior-level exposure is very appealing to these individuals.

Check back for more on this topic and to see how CEB in the Community aims to tailor our program to both types of employees.

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