Happy workers more likely to volunteer, study finds

04 Jul 2018 News

Employees who have higher job satisfaction are more likely to volunteer in the community than those who are unhappier at work, research conducted by Middlesex University London and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has found.

The study, Work and volunteering: Longitudinal relationships beteen work-related experiences and volunteering behaviour, which was produced by Daniela Lup and Jonathan Booth, was published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations. It tracked changes in job satisfaction over time for over 12,000 British employees, and shows that as job satisfaction increases employees are more likely to volunteer in their free time and to volunteer more often.

It also found that when job satisfaction decreases, employees are less likely to volunteer.

The researchers measured job satisfaction on a scale of one to seven and found the chance of an employee volunteering increased by 6.5 per cent with every increase of satisfaction on the scale.

The report said that open support for volunteering is “expected to encourage employees to engage more actively with their communities”, but that these expectations “tend to overlook the experiences that employees have at work and the consequences that work-related experiences might have on employees’ volunteering behaviour”.

The study said that the findings that an “increase in job satisfaction score is accompanied by an increase in the likelihood of volunteering as well as by an intensification of the existing volunteering” encourages a more “complex discussion about the importance of good work experiences”.

The evidence also suggests that “volunteering behaviour is more likely a result from work satisfaction spillover than compensating for work unhappiness or trying to make up for what work does not fulfil”.

Commuters less likely to volunteer

The study also finds that commuting time has a detrimental effect on volunteering. The findings show that those who commute for 50 minutes are 9 per cent less likely to volunteer than those who commute for 20 minutes.

The researchers concluded that the finding that job satisfaction is a determinant of volunteering should trigger a “more serious investigation into the compatibility between the experiences that organisations offer to employees and their desire to be viewed as a responsible citizen”.

It says that unless organisations pay closer attention to work quality, their “claims of citizenship behaviour via volunteering could likely be challenged”.

Report writer Booth from LSE said: “Currently, many local government initiatives are focused on disseminating information about existing volunteering opportunities. But in an area with a high percent of employees with long commuting time more creative, tailored approaches to encourage volunteering are needed”.

Civil Society Media is hosting its Charity People & Culture Conference on 18 September 2018. For more information, and to book, click here.



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