Many studies and surveys have been done over the past few years to try and get at the secret to finding, motivating and keeping good employees. As the economy continues to rebound and unemployment rates decrease, the competition for top talent is becoming much more intense. A recent article in Forbes discusses confusing, but vitally important idea of employee engagement.

The article highlights one area that has been found to motivate employees; giving back. And it seems to have a big impact. Work that benefits a good cause has been shown to increase productivity by 30% according to a new study by the University of Southampton. And it seems the least productive workers are the most motivated by this type of incentive.

This makes sense when you think of human psychology. People like to be part of something bigger than themselves. If a charity is benefiting from their work, they are motivated to work harder. There is an additional layer of accountability and the intrinsic reward of doing something good for someone else.

There isn’t a one size fits all solution for employee engagement, but one thing you can do to increase motivation, engagement and productivity is give employees a sense for purpose.

Do you have a corporate philanthropy program? Share your ideas with us.