How Volunteering Can End The Great Resignation

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In 2021, an average of more than 3.95 million workers quit their jobs each month. Nearly 50 million workers left their roles last year. The chart below highlights this increasing rate of resignations over the last few years. 

As companies and HR leaders dive into the cause of this mass exodus, we often hear a few common responses, such as the ongoing pandemic, vaccine mandates, and a strong job market. While all of these are true, the number of resignations is far above what anyone would consider being a healthy turnover rate for a company. As the pandemic forced employees to rethink their priorities and work-life balance, it left them asking one key question:

 “If my life and work are one and the same, how do I find the most value in this united experience? If my expectations and plans can be so wholly upended, how can I make the most of my time, treasure, and talent in the moment?” Ashley Grice

Mission & Purpose

All companies need a core purpose and mission. From an operational perspective, when there is a clear and organized mission, all employees from — the CEO to the new intern — know the driving factors that should guide their decision-making to meet their goals. All humans want to be part of a larger community, driving towards a goal they believe in. The COVID-19 pandemic continued longer than most originally believed; working from home has created a level of isolation, separating employees from the community culture of the office. This space has allowed them to reflect on the mission they’re supporting and may have caused many to realize it’s actually a mission that doesn’t align with their personal priorities. In fact, “Ninety-three percent of employees believe companies must lead with purpose. A further 88 percent believe it’s no longer acceptable for companies to make money at the expense of society at large.”

If you work for an oil and gas company, you may realize that on a personal level you’re more passionate about saving the environment. Many tech employees are realizing the missions of their social networks or B2B software products don’t align with their purpose. We’d be naive to think that these employees are resigning in order to join nonprofits or create breakthrough technologies. Some may be doing this, but the vast majority of individuals are leaving to join an organization that’s purpose and mission better suit their personal goals. 

So, the obvious question business leaders have to answer is this:

“How can I create a mission and purpose for my employees without changing what our business does?”

Corporate Social Responsibility & Employee Volunteering

This is where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) comes into play. All companies need to build and invest in ways to leverage their profits to enable their companies to give back to the community and wider society. This in itself is powerful, but it’s even more powerful when you involve your employees in the process and create mission-driven employment. Employees having the opportunity to partake greatly reduces turnover. Part of any business's goals should be focused on creating an impact in the world for those less fortunate. . If a company doesn’t implement this type of strategy soon, its performance will continue to suffer. Millennials are quickly becoming a larger segment of the global workforce. Importantly, more than 91% of individuals surveyed by Forbes said that working for a socially responsible company was important to them.

We could write an entire book helping leaders select and build their mission and social impact strategy. Today, we just want to show you a few ways to introduce volunteering at your company to greatly reduce turnover. 

Volunteer Time Off: This has been around for a long time and is considered a good entry point into corporate volunteering. Employees are given time to volunteer for causes they’re passionate about. However, it doesn’t always create the interconnectedness that individuals crave. It can be a challenge to encourage employees to take advantage of this time off so it’s best paired with additional volunteer or give back opportunities.

Company & Team Wide Volunteering: This is what we recommend for most companies as it provides a way to dedicate a portion of time for employees to volunteer together around a pre-decided cause. Employees can work together, bond, and deliver impact as a company or as a team. The benefits of these experiences are exponential. 

Skills-Based Volunteering: This is the ‘holy grail’ of volunteering. You let employees dedicate a portion of their time to volunteer with a nonprofit organization over a longer period. This allows them to deliver greater impact to a nonprofit than possible via other volunteering methods. In addition, it teaches them valuable skills that will benefit them in their full-time role. 

Whichever volunteer approach you decide to take at your company, the best step is to just get started. 

The Writers

Andy VandenBerg
Andy VandenBerg is the co-founder and COO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Andy speaks actively about the importance of aligning strategy with social responsibility and how companies can pursue both purpose and profit. Andy’s past experience includes private equity and family office investing. If he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him in the Pacific Ocean or Lake Michigan.
Ben Sampson
Ben Sampson is the co-founder and CEO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Ben speaks actively about corporate social responsibility, volunteerism, sustainability, and how companies united with activism drive powerful change. Ben’s past experience includes leading product teams, building startups, and studying sustainable business strategy at Harvard. In his free time, he’s an avid outdoor enthusiast focused on skiing, surfing, and mountain biking.

“The finance revolution is here”

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