The giving revolution and why it’s paying dividends for SEEK

In June 2014, SEEK launched its workplace giving program, Small Change. Social Investment Manager at SEEK, Naomi Barson, explains what workplace giving is and why SEEK has embarked on the giving journey.

Shareholder value. Revenue streams. Cost structure. Sales targets. Market share. The things that every business focuses on every day. It’s not immediately obvious that supporting a charity, getting involved in the community and donating money can help a business succeed. But they are intimately connected, and one simple program can join the dots.

Workplace giving first became popular in Australia in the early 2000s. It involves employees making small, regular donations to charity through their pre-tax salary, facilitated through payroll. It’s simple, engages staff in the wider community, and pays dividends to both hearts and bottom lines.

Increase staff engagement

The research is conclusive in establishing the value of workplace giving programs. In addition to obvious benefits for charity, the primary advantage is that they help build employee engagement, and companies with high employee engagement experience 2.5 times the revenue growth of those with less engagement, according to Hay Group Insight's 2009 paper 'Engaging and Enabling Employees to Improve Performance Outcome'.

Further benefits for employers include:

  • Enhanced staff retention and productivity.

  • A greater sense of purpose at work.

  • Instilling pride among employees for their collective impact.

  • Measurable social impact.

  • Improved company reputation.

Workplace givers feel the love too. In Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Survey, donors showed statistically significant higher perceptions towards their employer and a greater affinity towards them when workplace giving is in play. They are motivated to do their best work and are proud that their organisation is involved in the community in a tangible and collaborative way. Additionally, the survey revealed that 85% of employees feel it's important for organisations to 'give back' to the community.

Workplace giving provides charities with sustainable revenue

Importantly, workplace giving provides charities with low-cost, sustainable revenue that enables them to plan ahead with certainty. As the government is changing social welfare policies, charities are struggling to find adequate funds to deliver their programs and services. We are seeing a greater reliance on the broader community to support and fund those in need. Workplace giving forms a critical part of the charity funding mix.

How do workplaces get started?

The Australian Charities Fund can help workplaces get started with a workplace giving program. They are a not-for-profit organisation passionate about promoting workplace giving as the most effective way for organisations and employees to donate to charity. Jenny Geddes, CEO of The Australian Charities Fund, champions a national campaign to involve one million Australians in workplace giving by 2020, inviting business leaders to raise funds in a low cost, high impact way through their workplaces, contributing much needed resources to charities. We have a long way to go though, as currently only 156,000 employees donate through workplace giving.

By creating social change, workplace giving delivers value through higher staff engagement. If every working Australian gave just 50 cents a week, it would generate $1.4 billion for the charity sector by 2020. Now that’s a revolution worth being part of.
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About the author

Naomi Barson


Social Investment Manager

Naomi Barson has worked at SEEK since 2007, holding corporate communications roles, managing SEEK's Indigenous diversity initiative and has most recently launched the company's workplace giving program, Small Change. Prior to SEEK, Naomi held a...

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