Should HR Be the Volunteer Police? Maybe It’s the Secret to Being Strategic

So, here’s the number – 2.7. It means an employee is 2.7 times more likely to volunteer (for charitable missions) if their boss volunteers as well.

That number was presented to me at a conference recently, from a study Blue Cross/Blue Shield did in one of it’s larger organizations. Also, an employee is 2 times more likely to volunteer if their bosses, boss volunteers.

So, what?

At first glance it might seem like an irrelevant number – only one study with about 6,000 employees – and not really comprehensive enough to prove anything.

You may be right. But as I thought about it, it seems to pass my “feel” test – it just feels right. You know when you hear a number sometimes and it just seems valid?  That what this seems like, so I tend to believe in what the presenter was saying based on her statistics. Here’s what else the study found:

  • Those employees who volunteer, on behalf of the company, have less attrition (again, seems to make sense)
  • Also, those who volunteer have higher engagement scores
  • Finally, those who volunteer, have higher performance.

The employees we all want

It’s the “Hat Trick of Good Employee Metrics,” right? Low turnover, high engagement, high performance – it’s the employees we all want.

So, how do we get them? Oh, yeah, that’s what the study was all about: get your leadership (managers, directors and VP’s) to volunteer – and have them invite their staff.

So, what does this have to do with HR?

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Oh, yeah – sorry, I forgot you don’t plan holiday parties. Pull yourself away from that fancy dashboard for a minute because I am going to make you strategic.

In the end, a secret formula to being strategic

Find a leader who already likes to volunteer, or would have interest in doing it, with a little help. Work with one or two of the countless organizations in your community right now that need volunteer help and set up the first time.  Be the organizer – use your “leader” sponsor to rally the troops – and just allow your employees to go and volunteer for this one thing. Then sit back and see what happens.

It’s pretty cool. People are talking with each other, laughing, feeling good about themselves and their company. They come back to work and the conversation will continue. The leader that was there getting dirty will be viewed differently by those attend, and he or she will view those workers who attended with them with a new found respect.

You can be in HR, be a planner, and be strategic. You now have a the secret formula – you know how to lower turnover, build higher engagement, and improve performance. Don’t you think your executives will find that strategic?

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


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