social impact and community during great resignation

The ‘Great Resignation’: How A Social Impact Plan Can Help Retain Your Best People

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This article was originally posted on Forbes Business Council.

The “Great Resignation” is still with us in 2022, and it’s showing no signs of slowing.

But the Great Resignation may not be the right term for what’s happening. Workers aren’t necessarily quitting to do nothing. For the most part, they are seeking out new employers that provide the compensation, flexibility and culture they want. It’s more like a “Great Reshuffling.”

In the midst of this reshuffling, it’s critical to ensure that your company becomes a destination, and making a social impact is one of the best ways to start. But how do you incorporate social impact into your culture and workforce?

Creating A Sense Of Fulfillment

While it may not be shocking to learn that many employees are jumping back into the job market to get a new role for a higher salary, you may be surprised to learn that the second biggest reason for people leaving their jobs — nearly 20%, according to a recent survey — is because they found a more “rewarding” position.

Unfortunately, many organizations focus exclusively on the financial reasons motivating employees to leave, but this is a reactive approach to the Great Resignation. Only focusing on benefits and salary adjustments as your answer to a potential mass exodus may actually backfire.

This is because financial incentives can make the employer-employee relationship feel transactional in a world where team members and prospective employees are very focused on the “human aspects of work.”

Your company’s commitment to social impact can be a big contributor to your workforce’s sense of fulfillment with their work. When employees believe that their workplace makes a positive impact on the world, engagement and performance increase.

A company’s social impact can also strengthen employee relationships and enhance team morale, both of which can help create a culture that’s attractive to job seekers.

Creating Your Social Impact Plan

A commitment to, and plan for, social impact is one way to begin to improve the human aspects of your workplace. If you’re looking to build your culture through social impact, here’s how to get started.

1. Establish employee-giving programs.

A Deloitte study found that 37% of professionals who made charitable donations in 2020 did so through a workplace program. A much larger portion of Gen Z and millennial workers did so as well — 58% of professionals ages 18–34 compared to 37% of all employees.

With younger generations more likely to join the Great Resignation, this gives companies extra motivation to create the meaningful experiences they crave.

Start an employee-giving program that allows team members to direct funds to the charities of their choosing.

2. Establish volunteer programs.

Volunteer programs are another effective way to generate social impact, and they can also be good for your company overall. Research shows that volunteer programs create a multitude of organizational benefits, including enhanced productivity, better employee engagement, and increased hiring and retention rates.

Give your people opportunities to volunteer with colleagues, and create dedicated volunteer days to help employees engage with each other and with causes that matter. For example, you might transform Giving Tuesday into an org-wide volunteer day.

Some companies provide compensated time for employees to volunteer, and others hold days or weeks of action when volunteering is a theme across the organization.

3. Contribute to causes your people care about.

Companies use a variety of creative approaches to maximize their impact on their employee programs. Some offer dollar-for-dollar matches up to a certain amount. For example, you might offer to match employee donations to their charities of choice for up to $1,000 in a calendar year.

Other organizations provide credit grants, which are small donations you provide workers with to direct to the charity of their choosing. Credit grants can be given on an ongoing basis or provided to employees on anniversaries or other special occasions.

Then there’s the dollars-for-doers approach, which provides an incentive for employee volunteerism. In this program, employees receive credits based on the number of hours they have volunteered that they can then donate to a charity of their choosing. For example, if an employee volunteers 10 hours and their company offers $10 of credit per hour volunteered, they receive a $100 donation credit. (These programs don’t always provide a certain dollar amount per hour — that is just one of many different structures that could work.)

Doing Good For Your Community And Company

While there are many ways to respond to the Great Resignation, ensuring your company has an intentional social impact plan that engages your employees is a key component to attracting (and keeping) the talent your company needs to thrive — one that feels less transactional and more human.

Employee volunteer programs, workplace giving programs, and company contributions are fairly easy to implement and have the added benefit of enabling you to do good for the communities where you operate and where your employees live. They can also make your organization a magnet for talented professionals who are looking for meaningful work.

Consider whether a social impact plan could help your organization survive, and even thrive, amid the Great Resignation.

Srinagesh Vitthanala

Srinagesh Vitthanala

As the CEO at Bright Funds, Sri is responsible for driving the vision, strategy, and execution. Prior to joining Bright Funds, he was Vice President, Software Development at Financial Engines, where he oversaw investment management platforms, managing over $120 billion in assets. He is an enthusiastic hiker and loves to travel all around the world.