I recently watched a Deloitte Insights video where they discussed the findings from their 2011 Volunteer Impact Study. The study consisted of online interviews to 1,500 Millennials(ages 21-35) who work at companies with 1,000 or more employees that offer employee volunteer activities or programs.

For companies trying to determine how to recruit and retain Millennials, I think you will find the results extremely interesting. Deloitte found, unsurprisingly, that Millennials who frequently volunteer are more likely to be “proud, loyal, and satisfied employees” as compared to those who rarely or never volunteer.

That seems like a pretty unassuming finding, but the story is in the #s. 56% of Millennials interviewed who ‘Always/Often Volunteer’ had a ‘Very Positive’ perception of their company’s corporate culture, compared to 28% of those interviewed who ‘Rarely/Never Volunteer’.  When asked about their satisfaction with the company, 51% of those who ‘Always/Often Volunteer’ were “Very Satisfied.” 32% of those who ‘Rarely/Never Volunteer’ were ‘Very Satisfied’. Those #s, to me at least, are staggering. There is almost a 30% difference in perception of company culture, and almost a 20% difference in satisfaction between those who volunteer and those who do not.

You can look at those #s one of two ways, depending on how you classify the cause and effect. Either volunteering changes those employees’ perception of the corporate culture and their satisfaction with their job OR those who volunteer naturally have a higher propensity to be engaged in the company. Either way, the act of volunteering seems to be vetting (or creating) a company’s most engaged employees.

As companies target Millennials, it is essential they understand how important ‘social consciousness’ is to this demographic.  In 2008, the Aspen Institute did a really interesting study where they interviewed MBA students to better understand what motivates them in finding a new employer. Consistently, one of the over-riding criteria in these MBA students’ job search was that their potential employer demonstrated a significant corporate social commitment.

In the SVM Insights Section, you’ll find the results of the Deloitte Volunteer Impact Study, the 2020 Talent Edge Report (that explores how CEOs are changing their global strategies for recruitment) and the Aspen Institute Report on MBA students.

Definitely an interesting read if you are on the HR side trying to determine how to snag top Millennial talent!