According to research by psychologist and emotional health expert Dr. Steven Stein of Multi-Health, the number one predictor of employee retention is the emotional intelligence attribute of social responsibility. Employees are loyal to companies that are doing good things in the world.
Our research revealed that employees of today show strong preferences about what an ideal work situation looks like. Time and again, we heard from people who want to work with a company that has these qualities:
- Is socially responsible
- Seeks and maintains involvement in good causes (employees want to take pride in what their organizations stand for)
- Takes care of their employees in good and bad times. Compassion programs score high marks in attraction and retention. We heard many wonderful examples of organizational programs specifically set up to take care of employees who had fallen on hard times.
Organized for Good
Many organizations are fulfilling this “wish list” for prospective and current employees—as well as for the community. These companies illustrate how coming together for a cause can have maximum impact and lasting positive effects. Here are just a few examples of the many efforts at helping the community shared by organizations in our research:
Building Homes, Strengthening Teams
A few years back, I worked with the leadership team of Alcatel-Lucent in Cambodia. One entire day was devoted to building houses for the underprivileged out in the countryside of Phnom Penh. After a day of labor with over 100 leaders of the Asia Pacific team, we watched as the families moved into houses we had just helped to build. The families were so grateful to have an upgrade in living conditions, and I trust that the Alcatel-Lucent team was profoundly moved by this gratitude—and by the opportunity to make a difference. I know I was. From that day forward, I created my teambuilding programs around the shared vision of helping a cause of some kind.
One Week to Do Good
The company Netapp, which consistently appears on various “best employers in the world” lists, allows their employees to take a week off (paid) to do any volunteer work they want. According to Dorsey Delavigne, an engineer we interviewed, the volunteer work can involve anything from working in a youth home to traveling to Africa to helping build a school. Of all the companies we’ve interviewed, no other company has more fully or generously facilitated the efforts of employees to actively support a good cause.
What you do as an individual reflects upon your organization as well, and vice-versa. Therefore, making giving a part of your own life will spill over in helping you lead your organization towards doing the same.
Part of what makes compassion, giving, and community service so much fun is the fact that we share it and become inspired by one another’s efforts. I know that I hope to spend a lifetime finding more ways to make a difference! As my good friend, Jana Stanfield reminds us all, “We can not do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that we can do.”