found that those scoring in the top half
on employee engagement nearly doubled
their odds of success compared with
those in the bottom half.”1
Two key ingredients to employee engagement
are morale and well-being. A
2017 study conducted by Deloitte found
companies that create a culture of volunteerism
enjoy a higher level of morale,
and an improved workplace atmosphere.
According to the research, 9 out of 10 believe
“companies who sponsor volunteer
activities offer a better overall working
environment than those who do not.”2
It may seem counter-intuitive to argue
businesses that encourage employees
to engage in volunteer activities outside
the workplace and that take time
away from the work day to allow them to
do so are, in fact, benefiting from greater
employee productivity. Experts believe
one reason is the improved employee
collaboration that comes from volunteering
together outside the workplace.
Wes Gay, writing for Forbes Magazine,
says “Many companies assume more
meetings means more collaboration. Or if
the office space is open, collaboration will
improve. Those who have tried these two
approaches know collaboration does not
accidentally improve. Collaboration improves
when people trust others more, and
volunteer opportunities are a great way
to strengthen trust.”3
Another explanation for private business
commitment to employee volunteerism
is even more basic and even more
clearly bridges the perceived contradiction
between profit-driven motives and
philanthropic interests. In its simplest
terms, higher employee engagement
leads to higher revenues.
On the contrary, a dip in worker engagement
can have a significant negative
impact on a company’s bottom
line. Research by SAP found a drop in
employee engagement by as little as 1%
led to revenue fluctuations by as much
as $40 million dollars.4 A robust corporate
volunteer program goes a long way
towards ensuring employee morale and
engagement remain high.
community’s needs is vital
While the donation of time is critical to
the success of any private business-led
volunteer effort, there is one additional
element required to make a real impact.
Volunteerism is less effective unless the
needs of the community are well understood.
Educating the private sector
to the issues facing an ensures private
sector good intentions lead to good results.
This education is often the responsibility
of non-profit organizations.
These non-profit groups bridge the gap
between private business and volunteerism.
In my South Florida community,
this job is filled by a non-profit called
Leadership Palm Beach County (LPBC).
Leadership Palm Beach County
(LPBC) brings together leaders from
the public, private and nonprofit sectors
to build and steward a vibrant,
interconnected community. For over
30 years LPBC has prepared more than
1 700 individuals for a commitment to
doing public good. Participants in their
annual leadership programs are engaged
in improving the region as they develop
a civic commitment and awareness of
diverse issues and industries.
Participants are a unique mixture of
public and private sector leaders who
build relationships with other leaders to
find solutions to the challenges facing
our region. LPBC is just one of countless
non-profit organizations across
the United States working to educate
and make the necessary connections
that lead to meaningful volunteerism.
The spirit of selfless generosity
Of course, the relationship between volunteerism
and private profit is not what
motivated Kennedy to issue his challenge
nearly six decades ago. His call to arms
was about serving one’s community.
As a member of local city government,
I see that spirit of selfless generosity
every day among the men and women
who volunteer their time at City Hall.
From the volunteers in our public library
to the retired men and women who
serve on numerous committees, they
benefit by knowing their work is helping
to improve our city, its government
and community. Like their fellow citizens
in the private sector who take time
away from business to help others, each
and every one is not asking what their
community can do for them. They ask
what they can do for their community.
Christina Lambert is an elected City Commissioner
in the City of West Palm Beach,
Florida. She is a longtime community activist
who has dedicated most of her life
to public service. Lambert is a Productivity
Strategist who works with local CEOs
and business professionals on improving
their corporate businesses practices, with
a passion for helping them find more time
for civic engagement.
1 Gallup, Inc. “How Employee
Engagement Drives Growth.” Gallup.
com, 20 June 2013.
2 “Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Research
| Deloitte US | Citizenship.” Deloitte
United States, 7 June 2017,
3 Gay, Wes. “4 Reasons Why A
Corporate Volunteer Program Is
A Smart Investment.” Forbes, Forbes
Magazine, 14 Nov. 2016.
4 “SAP Integrated Report 2017.”
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