Finding an article on Workplace Giving in the recent issue of Quality Digest may be unexpected to some. But if you’ll pause to consider the role of Workplace Giving as a contributing element to the culture of an organization, you may feel a little less surprised.
When we think or talk about the Quality body of knowledge and the contribution that the attitude of Quality brings to an organization, it shouldn’t be hard to correlate that the role of Workplace Giving can also be significant in the overall development of a quality workforce.
When Quality is a foundational part of the culture of an organization, you will see a focus on continuous process improvement. The Quality body of knowledge, whether based solely on texts and learnings from organizations like American Society for Quality (ASQ), or based on the principles of programs like Six Sigma or ISO, identifies continuous improvement as a key goal. When organizations are effective in their drive for continuous improvement, measurable outcomes realized in areas like profitability and customer satisfaction are accompanied by tangible benefits in areas like employee morale and motivation. This positive impact on employee morale is documented in surveys and interviews and demonstrated in measurables such as low employee turnover rates.
Why do continuous improvement programs have this positive affect on employee morale? Certainly a part of it is the empowerment and ownership that employees feel when they see problems they have identified being addressed and resolved. Beyond that, employees also report that they have a sense of being respected, that they believe their point of view and needs are considered relevant to the organization.
Very similar outcomes are reported in regard to Workplace Giving programs. When the best methods are used to select those programs and to engage employees in participation, it is reported that this brings a sense of empowerment to employees. This sense of empowerment comes from the employee knowing and understanding the benefits their Workplace Giving programs deliver to their communities or the causes they care about. There is oftentimes a pride of belonging that boosts morale and other measurable factors that is well-researched and documented by organizations such as American Charities.
So, given the reported positive effects on morale and consequently on costs such as employee turnover, it is clear that Workplace Giving programs have a role, just like continuous improvement, in creating positive cultures for organizations.
But wait – there is more!
Research on millennials and the following generations show that these employees care strongly about which social causes, as demonstrated by corporate mission statements and Workplace Giving programs, their employers support. In fact, according to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, 83% of Mature Millennials and 79% of Young Gen-X are loyal to a company that helps them contribute to relevant social and environmental issues. If we look at that finding in the light of unemployment rates that hover in the 4% range and an average cost for hiring that is reportedly between $15,000 and $20,000, it shouldn’t take long for even small organizations to identify the financial benefits of solid Workplace Giving programs.
Yet another trend to note has to do with the research on gratitude. The mental health benefits of expressing gratitude are very important. For many, giving to causes or to those less fortunate, either with funds or actions or both, is a relevant way to express gratitude. Expressing gratitude releases chemicals in the brain that cause feelings of well-being and are strong enough that there is a desire to repeat the experience. When the opportunity for these expressions of gratitude occurs as part of a Workplace Giving program, that association also creates a boost in employee morale and engenders greater loyalty to other members of the workplace team.
All of these factors are reasons why a Workplace Giving program is an important benefit to offer employees and why it is worth optimizing such programs.
The reason that the presentation of this article in a quality publication is so relevant is because the content focuses on how to make your Workplace Giving programs more effective. Whether your organization is considering engagement with Workplace Giving for the first time or is interested in improving the output of your existing programs, you will likely find the content in this article helpful. Some of the conclusions like the benefits of offering employees choices in the causes supported are very obvious. Others, like how different communication approaches affect overall engagement , will be useful when planning the details of your own campaigns.
Many organizations desire and encourage a Quality culture. They recognize the long-term value to all stakeholders of Quality as a contributor to achieving success. Workplace Giving has a similar concrete contribution to stakeholder value and, with the information in this article, any organization can find ways to achieve greater success with their Workplace Giving programs.
Does your organization have Workplace Giving? Let us know your thoughts on employee empowerment and how programs like these encourage or discourage your loyalty.