How Giving Back Halved This Company’s Employee Turnover

April 7, 2015

Talking about “corporate social responsibility” may not sound like an especially sexy topic, but that’s where you are wrong.

According to research by Dale Carnegie, one of the most efficient ways to increase employee engagement is to participate in social good initiatives and give back to the community.

Aspen Medical, a Canberra-based Australian healthcare organisation, has seen the benefits of this concept first-hand – both when it comes to employee retention and employer branding.

The Aspen Medical CSR commitment

Glenn Keys founded Aspen Medical back in 2003 and made sure that corporate social responsibility (CSR) became an operating priority since day one:

“If you do it at the start, it gets embedded in the DNA of the company going forward,” said Keys. “You can be a ‘one-man band’ and donate 1 hour a week. I’ve done that since the start—when it was me in my dining room.”

This mentality has paid off for the company, and 12 years later Aspen Medical actively focuses its CSR efforts into a few main areas:

  • The Aspen Foundation: shareholders put profits into the Aspen Foundation, the goal of which is to significantly reduce or eradicate key illnesses in the Australian community. This includes the eradication of Trachoma— the number one preventable cause of blindness in Australia’s Indigenous population. Aspen Medical's work has reduced instances of the disease from 15% to 4%, and they are on target for eradication by 2020.
  • Individual Contributions: About 20% of Aspen Medical’s team donates to charities on a regular basis out of their pre-tax salary. The company also supports individual team members by giving them time off to volunteer and donation matching.
  • Corporate Contributions: Aspen Medical targets charities and philanthropic events that relate to the company’s projects in specific locations. For example, in the Solomon Islands where the company has worked for several years, they actively support People With Disabilities Solomon Islands in their mission to advocate for basic human rights for people with disabilities.

aspen medical retention

The Aspen Medical team delivering free flu vaccinations to the vulnerable in Canberra. 

The impact CSR has had on talent retention

So, what’s the impact of CSR on talent?

According to Keys, average turnover in the healthcare sector in Australia is at about 14%. At Aspen Medical, turnover on even the most difficult of projects is below 7%:

“The turnover of each staff member approximately costs $74,000 to $75,000. If you halve that, it turns out that the financial impact of CSR to our bottom line is impressive,” said Keys.

Furthermore, Aspen Medical’s CSR activities have had a positive affect on its employer brand - employees truly value working for the company and they make that known.

In fact, when a recent member of the communications team left, she said during her exit interview that she wanted to continue doing CSR through Aspen Medical by volunteering on her own time. The company’s CSR reputation and program factored strongly into her original decision to join the company as well.

If you’d like to hear more about Keys’ story and the corporate social responsibility journey at Aspen Medical, join us at Talent Connect Sydney on 5th May, 2015 at the Hilton to hear Keys as one of our keynotes. Visit here for more information and to register today.


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