Celebrating International Volunteer Day: Build Pride & Connections Through Corporate Giving

Nancy Fonseca

Author

This article has been adapted to suit an Australian audience and to celebrate International Volunteers Day, originally written by – Nancy Fonseca from Great Place To Work Canada.

Corporate giving plays a pivotal role in fostering connections within an organisation. When people come together for a greater purpose, they build a natural connection that is strong and enduring, and they are united in a special way. When their organisation supports and encourages them to give back, the feel-good energy is palpable, and it crosses over into all aspects of corporate life. 

Feeling connected through corporate giving is even more important amid global uncertainties and evolving work landscapes. Plus, giving back is just good business because helping the community where you work and operate lifts everyone up. 

As we celebrate International Volunteer Day, it’s a great opportunity to not only recognise the efforts and invaluable contributions of volunteers worldwide, but also reflect on the transformative power of corporate giving. This special day provides a broader context on how volunteerism and giving back help creates pride and fosters connection within organisations. 

During the Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2022 data analysis we learned that employees not only want their workplace to be committed to the community, but they also want the opportunity to participate directly and be supported in giving-back as part of that commitment. Within the Best Workplaces™ in Australia for 2022;  

  • 94% said “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.”  
  • 94% said “I feel I make a difference here.” 

 

These findings are even more relevant now, as companies focus on attracting and retaining top talent during economic downturn and uncertainty. We know people want to get involved in causes, and with organisations that make their community and the world better for everyone.  It’s this sense of community connection that resonates with people, particularly as people look to create new bonds and close the gap on loneliness. 

As an organisation, creating connections through corporate giving also creates pride; and pride and connection are two key elements of work culture that drive employee success and satisfaction.  The Best Workplaces™ in Australia understand this relationship and they take time to understand what resonates with their people to build a strong foundation for their corporate giving.  

 

Giving Back Creates Pride  

At the Best Workplaces™ in Australia for 2022, employees’ responses to survey questions related to pride enjoyed an average of 95% support. Statements included:  

  • 98% of employees are proud to tell others where they work 
  • 96% of employees look forward to coming to work 
  • 88% of employees feel a sense of pride when they look at what they accomplish 

 

 This sense of deep-rooted pride is something all organisations can work toward, and corporate giving is one key means of doing so. Giving back to the community sends a strong and clear message that your organisation cares about more than just profit and is willing to invest in people and causes that make the world a better place. 

Pride is also closely related to engagement, and organisations that give back also enjoy high rates of employee engagement. Employees at Australia’s Best Workplaces™ feel they make a difference (94%), are willing to give extra to get the job done (96%) and believe their work has special meaning beyond “just a job” (92%).  This level of connection with a deeper meaning and purpose only serves to enhance employee experience and create a strong bond that can withstand unexpected pressures and disruption in the workplace.  

 

Giving Back Creates Connection  

Beyond connection to a deeper purpose, corporate giving creates deep connections between people. When people come together for a greater purpose, they build bonds and friendships that are uniquely beneficial to a robust and healthy work culture. These bonds can be relied upon to mitigate the stresses of work as well as the stress, and perhaps even despair, people feel as they manage their way through a world where turmoil and divisiveness is seemingly streamed or broadcast 24/7.  Having people around that you can trust and count on is the best remedy and at Australia’s Best Workplaces™ employees enjoy an average 96% agreement rate on statements related to camaraderie including: 

  • People care about each other here. (98% agreement)  
  • You can count on people to cooperate (95% agreement)  
  • This is a fun place to work. (95% agreement)  

 

Bringing people together to participate in a common cause not only strengthens bonds between them; it allows employees to see each other from a non-work perspective and may showcase skills that aren’t readily apparent in their work-related tasks. 

 

Giving Back – Start Now  

There are so many opportunities to give back and no matter what you do, it will make a difference. To maximise your impact with employees and create long-lasting culture benefits, the key is getting your people involved. Find out what they are passionate about, support their individual community-based projects, and start small and build on what works. Not all organisations will be able to develop a charitable foundation or sponsor a large-scale community event, however most are able to adopt good environmental practices, match employee donations, or get involved in a local charity.  

Australia’s Best Workplaces™ come from a variety of industries, some are small, and some are large, and majority of these workplaces have committed to corporate giving in meaningful ways. Here are some ideas to inspire your giving back initiatives: 

  • Position volunteering as a corporate value and make giving back a core part of the culture and something that employees consider integral to the way they operate and the decisions they make.  
  • Use internal messaging and dashboards to keep employees informed and up-to-date with the impact their actions are making.  
  • Encourage broad participation in volunteer events and include children and other family members, retirees, customers and suppliers. The more engagement with the community, the deeper the connection with giving back.  
  • Beyond using corporate skills and assets to help non-profit partners, leverage specific employee skills to provide services needed in the community. Employees who sew can help tailor dresses and suits for underprivileged people who are looking for work or those with first aid certification can lend official help at events.  
  • Encourage ERGs to include community investment as part of their mission and support them to plan activities and partnerships that are meaningful to their members.  
  • Provide a variety of ways for people to get involved so employees can choose what fits best for them. This can include an annual giving program to support one or a few charities that resonate with your people, employee donation matching, and paid time off to volunteer at an organisation of their choosing.  
  • Build camaraderie by establishing a ‘Volunteer Day’ where the whole organisation volunteers together, sponsoring corporate teams, and hosting fun events to raise money for the team.  
  • Sponsor community-based drives for specific populations (books for schools, shoes for developing countries, nappies for young moms and blankets for shelters).  
  • Think global with a local connection, as more and more people want to be part of large-scale change initiatives. 

 

Volunteering and giving back creates a substantial, lasting impact on your people and your culture. Corporate giving brings people together and creates a robust sense of pride. By developing deep roots and connections with your people you can withstand a variety of pressures and maintain a strong and healthy culture while at the same time enjoying all the satisfaction and pride that comes from serving others and contributing to a great community.  

If you’re not already using the Great Place To Work survey, reach out to us to learn about how we can help you improve employee engagement and become eligible for one of our Best Workplaces lists.  

Nancy Fonseca

Author

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from