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Best Workplaces for Giving Back: Creating Pride and Connection

 Best Workplaces for Giving Back: Creating Pride and Connection

Best Workplaces Company Culture Employee Engagement


Corporate giving is a key element in building connection within an organization. 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 organization supports and encourages them, the feel-good energy is palpable and it crosses over into all aspects of corporate life. This is particularly important during times of stress, change and upheaval – like that created by a worldwide pandemic! Plus, giving back is just good business because helping the community where you work and operate lifts up everyone.

In our work with Volunteer Canada and the Corporate Council on Volunteering in 2019 we learned that employees not only want their workplace to be committed to the community, they also want the opportunity to participate directly and be supported in giving-back as part of that commitment.  

  • 68% of Canadians, given a choice between two jobs, would choose the one at the employer with the stronger volunteering culture.
  • 70% of employees would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues.
  • 78% of millennials only wanted to work for an organization with purpose and 69% would leave their company for a similar one that was more purpose driven.

These findings reinforce what we instinctively know about volunteerism and giving back – it’s something people want to get involved with – and when they can do it through work it creates pride and connection; two key elements of work culture that drive employee success and satisfaction. And the best part is you don’t have to go overboard with your giving initiatives. Find what resonates with your people and build on that.

Giving Back Creates Pride

At the Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ employees’ responses to survey questions related to pride enjoyed an average of 91% support.

Statements included:

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This sense of deep-rooted pride is something all organizations can work toward and giving back is one key means of doing so. Giving back to the community sends a strong and clear message that your organization 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 organizations that give back also enjoy high rates of employee engagement. Employees at the Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ feel they make a difference (90%), are willing to give extra to get the job done (92%) and believe their work has special meaning beyond “just a job” (87%).  This level of connection with a deeper meaning and purpose only serves to enhance employee experience and create a strong bond that is able to withstand unexpected pressures and disruption in the workplace.

Giving Back Creates Connection

Beyond connection to a deeper purpose, giving back 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 in general and the feelings of disconnection arising from the changing face of work during the pandemic. In fact, the Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ enjoy an average 92% agreement rate on statements related to camaraderie including:

  • People care about each other here. (94% agreement)
  • You can count on people to cooperate (91% agreement)
  • This is a fun place to work. (89% agreement)

Bringing people together to participate in a common cause builds cooperation, 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 maximize 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 organizations will be able to develop a charitable foundation or sponsor a large-scale community event however most are able to adopt environmental good practices, match employee donations, or get involved in a local charity.

The Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ come from a variety of industries, some are small and some are large, and they have all committed to giving back in meaningful ways. Here are some ideas they have adopted for giving back that can be done in person or virtually depending on the circumstances:

  • Consider an annual giving program and support one or a few charities that resonate with your people
  • Match employee donations
  • Provide pro bono services, training, mentoring, etc. that fit with your skills and expertise
  • Sponsor community-based drives for specific populations (books for schools, shoes for developing countries, diapers for young moms and blankets for shelters)
  • Establish a ‘Volunteer Day’ where the whole organization volunteers together
  • Provide employees with paid time to volunteer
  • Sponsor corporate teams and host fun events to raise money for the team

Volunteering and giving back creates a substantial, lasting impact on your people and your culture. It brings people together and creates a robust sense of pride. By developing a 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.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the Global Authority on Workplace Culture. We make it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture.

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Nancy Fonseca
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