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Employee-Centric Corporate Goodness Programs to Big Gains in Retention

Bryan de Lottinville

The results of an Benevity Engagement Study, an analysis reveals links between participation in corporate Goodness programs and employee retention within a large cohort of Fortune 1000 companies. Contributor Bryan de Lottinville, Founder and CEO – Benevity.

The study, which examined the activity of more than 2 million users on the Benevity platform, found that turnover dropped by an average of 57 percent in the employee group most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts.

Studies show that the total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2 times an employee’s annual salary, which for U.S. companies totals more than $160 billion a year. To the extent that employee turnover is often a proxy for how engaged employees are with their company, these costs are likely understated. Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $600 billion every year in lost productivity.

Findings from the Benevity Engagement Study underscore the true value of employee-centric Goodness programs that embed prosocial behavior like giving, volunteering, and taking action on social and environmental issues, into a company’s human capital management strategies.

“This is a revealing study that arms leaders with data that proves the value of their social impact initiatives for their company’s HR and broader corporate goals”, said Bryan de Lottinville, Benevity Founder and CEO. “These days, people don’t necessarily leave or disengage with a company or a business vertical, they leave a culture and values that they perceive are misaligned. Inclusive and user-centric corporate Goodness programs not only help to avoid that, they can become a source of differentiation and attraction for employees.”

Methodology: Benevity analyzed a global dataset of more than 2 million employees from 118 companies that have integrated corporate giving and volunteering programs. They were then segmented based on activity in the preceding 365 days up to either removal from the platform or having a continued presence. The study found the following turnover rates for each category, with the giving and volunteering cohort showing far greater retention than the cohort that did not participate in Goodness-related activities:

  • Employees that neither donated or volunteered: 28 percent turnover
  • Employees that only donated money: 18 percent turnover
  • Employees that only volunteered time: 17 percent turnover
  • Employees that both donated money and volunteered time: 12 percent turnover
  • Companies in this data set displayed an average churn rate that is well below today’s national average.

Many companies like Microsoft and Prudential, are tapping into the power of Goodness to more deeply engage their employees, integrate CSR and HR objectives, and infuse their organisations with passion and purpose. For example, Microsoft’s employee giving program is so successful that it is now viewed as a keystone benefit for its workforce and an attractive draw for job applicants.

“The passion of our team and the infrastructure of this program are what make it happen,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “We’ve become so flexible in the ways that we invite people to give and so nimble responding to causes people care about that we are actually attracting purpose-driven employees to work at this company because of the history, legacy, and strength of the giving program.”

“It’s not uncommon for the two, often distinct segments of HR and CSR to operate in silos,” says Spring Lacy, VP Corporate and Community Engagement at Prudential Financial. “But uniting around the common goal of infusing purpose into our workplace culture to help attract, retain and engage top talent has made us close allies and ultimately more successful as a team. At Prudential, we’ve begun tracking retention results from our pro bono programming, as well as analyzing other giving and volunteering programs with an HR lens, and the results have been equally demonstrative of an exciting new era where goodness is a business imperative.”

“Today, companies are expected to pursue something more than profit. And employees are seeking a greater sense of purpose, meaning and impact at work,” added de Lottinville. “Companies that  are most successful in this area embed ‘Goodness’ into their employee experience through user-centred technology that empowers people to support the causes they are most passionate about.

This holistic, grassroots approach not only helps to attract key talent and reduce churn but also helps to more deeply connect employees to their work, companies and communities. It is truly the recipe for doing well by doing good.”

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