Your employees are crying out for community, and it’s up to you as their employer to deliver.

by Kim Hanson

Imagine Canada recently shared some sobering statistics based on a poll they commissioned in January 2024: half of Canadians are feeling less hopeful about the future than before. From concerns about inflation, to political polarization, to a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion, to climate change, there’s lots to feel pessimistic about.

But Canadians of all ages agree that creating community – by fostering personal connections and helping others – is the antidote to pessimism. “Seeing family and friends in person and connecting online, volunteering to help others, and donating to a good cause were the standout ‘optimism building’ findings,” says Bruce MacDonald, CEO of Imagine Canada.

So what does that have to do with you as an employer?

Well, bluntly, it affects your bottom line. A post-pandemic survey found that, when people had a sense of community at work, we found that they were 58% more likely to thrive at work, 55% more engaged, and 66% more likely to stay with their organization. Yet despite these obvious benefits, sense of community at work had declined 37% since pre-pandemic times. The message: employers need to invest in building community in our changing, hybrid work environment.

There are numerous ways to foster community in the workplace, and no one, silver bullet. But research suggests that hosting workplace giving campaigns such as HealthPartners,can be a great way of building community and optimism in the workplace.

A 2019 study by Imagine Canada found that when employees see their employers and colleagues supporting their local communities with workplace giving campaigns, they were about twice as likely to be happy and engaged with their employer and 2.6 times as likely to recommend their employer. In this tight labour market, those kind of results matter.

Workplace giving campaigns can also create opportunities for colleagues to come together to learn (like hearing from a person with lived experience as part of a HealthPartners campaign) or to hold a fundraising event.

Imagine Canada’s most recent research also proves a phenomenon we were already recognizing: demand for charities has nearly doubled since last year, but donations are down, causing charities to have to reduce programs and services.

Since charities need support more than ever, and you as an employer can give your employees the optimism and sense of community they crave by supporting charities in your workplace, why not start now?