Worker Turnover Drops 57% When Giving, Volunteering Encouraged

Workforces that donate and volunteer together, stay together, according to a new report by Benevity, Inc., headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The social-responsibility and employee-engagement software provider’s Benevity Engagement Study shows that workplace turnover is reduced by 57 percent when employees volunteer and give as compared to when they engage in neither activity.

The study analyzed 2.1 million users across 118 companies with both giving and volunteering programs. The pool was further segmented by workers with at least one year plus an additional 60 days of data, to remove new users. Donation activity, per the study, was defined as any charitable donation of the employees’ own money that was recorded through the platform. Volunteerism was marked by any recorded time approved by company administrators as part of a volunteer program.

Research found that the turnover rate among employees that neither donated nor volunteered was 28 percent. Employees that both donated and volunteered had a turnover rate of 12 percent, 57 percent below that of unengaged employees.

Among employees who chose either to donate or volunteer, but not both, the volunteers exhibited a slightly better turnover rate: 17 percent to 18 percent.

All four described turnover rates are significantly lower than the 2017 U.S. national rate of 43 percent, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That national figure includes more volatile occupations such as arts (82 percent), hospitality (73.8 percent), accommodation and food services (72.5 percent), and construction (60.1 percent). Industries such as government (18.3 percent), finance and insurance (24.4 percent), and wholesale trade (27.3 percent) operate closer to the study’s baseline.

The study’s authors noted that the cost of a departed employee can reach twice that of that employee’s salary. They also cite Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy upwards of $600 billion in lost productivity annually.

“The connection between goodness and engagement revealed in this study confirms our understanding that fostering a culture of meaning and purpose sparks benefits that increase exponentially,” said Bryan de Lottinville, Benevity founder and CEO in a statement to The NonProfit Times. “With employee-centric giving, volunteering and other pro-social activities, not only do charities and nonprofits benefit, but employees are happier and more engaged, while the company reduces employee turnover and the associated costs. It’s a win-win-win proposition.”