Charity Work and Employee Satisfaction

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Summary: Paying employees to do charity work in the local community can increase their job satisfaction.

Key Take Aways:

- Paid volunteer service may be an effective way of increasing employee engagement in the workplace.

- Employee engagement is a very important factor in an organization's success and too many are not engaged.

The volunteer service program at Umpqua Bank in Roseburg, Oregon is one of the company's key sources of employee satisfaction. The program is called the Connect Volunteer Network. In 2012, 93% of Umpqua associates did volunteer work at various charities in Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington. 46,730 hours of service were provided at over 1,700 organizations.

Employees that choose to participate in the volunteer program receive their normal pay rates. Full-time employees can volunteer forty hours and still receive their full pay. Part-time employees can volunteer twenty hours at their normal pay rate. The Connect Volunteer Network was established in 2004, and was created as part of the bank's company culture of community service.  Companies like Zappos also have paid employee volunteer opportunities, because community service is a core value there as well.

Some research has shown when employees participate in these paid volunteer experiences, they have a better feeling about their employers, and this enhanced regard could make it more likely they will remain in their jobs. Employee retention is a major cost for many companies because of the cost of recruiting, and training replacements. Morale may suffer as well, and that is a key factor in overall success.

The volunteer experience may also have some benefits, such as learning new skills, and recruiting new employees at the volunteer sites whose personal values may be in alignment with the company that sponsored the volunteers.

An analysis of about 28,000 volunteers from professional organizations found they had positive experiences.

- 87% said their experiences were at least very satisfying.
- 94% said their volunteering had a positive effect on how they viewed their job satisfaction.

Image Credit: Public Domain

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