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Volunteering linked to happier employees and customers

Kelly Salance

When an employee joins Zendesk, they volunteer on their first day — not only to give back to our community but to also help employees form bonds and get to know each other better. Volunteering is part of our core philosophy – we aim to be a good neighbor, a responsible business and ultimately, to be the company our customers and employees want us to be. That’s why we’ve put substantial time, money, and human resources into our communities around the globe.

To get a better sense of how Zendesk’s culture of volunteering has impacted our Advocates’ (customer-support employees’) feelings and performance on the job, we partnered with Drexel University to conduct a study.

What did we learn?

Volunteering has benefited our organization in three ways:

1. Increased help-seeking behavior: The more agents volunteered together the more they felt comfortable seeking help from peers at work.

2. More empathetic behavior: Volunteering encouraged advocates to flex their empathy muscles with individuals in the community, which led to employees flexing those muscles at work.

3. Increased job satisfaction: Zendesk employees said that CSR makes them more loyal to the company, more satisfied in their job, and instills in them a greater pride in the surrounding community.

Encouraging our employees to contribute to the communities around them has not only helped strengthen interpersonal skills, it has made for more engaged employees in the workplace. We hope other companies will be inspired by the results below to build a culture of volunteering.

Read the full study here.

If you would like to learn more about this study, or how to engage with your own community better, please email