With businesses globally implementing wide-ranging cost-cutting measures to brace for the new economic reality, leaders are grappling with rising mental health concerns among “survivors”, rapidly declining employee engagement—down to 32% in 2022, and lowered organizational commitment and productivity. The steep price for not tackling these challenges? Revenue. Let’s dive into the challenges surviving employees face and the role of volunteering in rebuilding team morale and improving organizational outcomes.
The "Survivor's" Challenges
- Survivor’s guilt
Retained employees often experience survivor’s guilt, which triggers anxiety, anger, and fear in the workplace. This can lead to reduced productivity and organizational commitment among employees.
- Increased workload and stress, lowered team morale
Retained employees are often expected to support and lead organizational efforts post-restructuring efforts, which could mean picking up work left behind by ex-colleagues and adjusting to new team dynamics. These changes can disrupt social networks and exacerbate employee burnout.
- Decreased levels of organizational commitment
According to research, employees report a 36% decline in organizational commitment and a 41% decline in job satisfaction post-layoffs. Moreover, employees experience higher levels of distrust in the organization’s commitment to their well-being.
In times of hybrid work, employees who are left behind need to be nurtured as they may be experiencing isolation, higher levels of stress, and disengagement from the organization’s mission. This can, if not managed, manifest as higher turnover rates within the organization and employees “quiet quitting.”
How can workplace volunteerism step in to fill the employee engagement gap?
Reinforcing your organization’s mission, vision, and goals holds the key to helping employees feel like they belong giving them a renewed purpose to overcome workplace challenges.
Employees who are satisfied with an organization’s efforts to create societal and environmental impact are more connected and loyal to their organizations. In this context, corporate volunteering programs can empower and engage employees while building better team culture.
Investing in purposeful employee engagement during these uncertain times can have multiple benefits:
- Foster innovation & creativity 🧠
Restructuring efforts often dim employees’ motivation and innovative energy. Team building activities with societal impact can foster cross-functional collaboration and stimulate innovative problem-solving.
- Improve employee retention 🤝
Layoffs often come coupled with increased turnover. Employees often feel burdened, disconnected, and fearful of being next in line. Engaging employees purposefully can show them the “why” of their work and re-emphasize the shared values with their organizations.
- Rebuild team culture and morale👐🏽
New or re-structured teams need leaders to invest in rebuilding connections and fostering organizational culture. Employee volunteering activities can fulfill the twin purpose of bringing the team together and embedding organizational values.
Reimagining volunteering programs to rebuild team morale and ignite employee purpose
CSR initiatives have been proven to positively affect employee well-being, and CSR and people teams are ideally positioned to improve organizational performance and employee engagement during these challenging times. However, employee engagement programs need to adapt to new employee needs and financial constraints.
Here are a few strategies to help impact teams better address employee engagement challenges while operating on lean budgets:
- Offering volunteering opportunities that align with employee beliefs
Opting for plug-and-play activities in cause areas like gender equity, sustainability, senior care, etc. that employees and teams feel connected to can enhance employee purpose in the workplace.
Goodera, for example, offers on-demand employee volunteering activities across 50+ cause areas to help organizations customize engagement for their diverse and global teams.
- Engaging hybrid workforces wherever they are to rebuild team morale
Restructuring efforts can be especially challenging for remote and hybrid teams. Offering a mix of virtual and in-person opportunities can help employees feel valued and motivated, whether they’re working from home or the office.
Goodera executes hosted, in-person, and virtual volunteering activities across time zones, simultaneously, so global teams can build team culture while advancing organizational purpose.
- Flexible volunteering to support employees
Employees tackling new responsibilities and uncertain work schedules do not have the time to commit to longer, larger projects and need organizations to offer flexible volunteering options that they can fit into their schedules.
At Goodera, we help organizations meet evolving employee needs by executing short 60- and 30-minute, hosted, managed volunteering activities that unlock true impact while ensuring employee flexibility.
- Unlocking hyper-local impact to improve community wellbeing
In our experience executing volunteering programs for 60 of the world’s Fortune 500 companies through the last two quarters, we’ve found volunteers connect more strongly with local opportunities that enable them to contribute to their neighborhoods and help out local nonprofits. Goodera works with a network of over 50,000 nonprofits globally to enable hyper-local impact for teams.
On-demand volunteering activities are a lean approach to traditional employee volunteering programs that focus on helping employees find purpose at their workplaces. It is critical for CSR and people teams to support and motivate retained employees through purposeful employee engagement to propel businesses toward purposeful growth and foster a positive culture.