Note to bosses: workers perform better if you give to charity

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We are used to the idea that workers respond to financial incentives, whether it’s a bonus or wage increase, but it might be that bosses can boost workers' performance by appealing to their altruism, not just their pockets.

As economies recover from the financial crisis, businesses have remained shy with the purse strings, but new evidence from our research has shown that involving employees in corporate philanthropy can offer the kind of motivation that we may have thought only money can buy.

Data from a survey of 261 leading US companies, including 62 of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune 500 list, reveals they contributed more than $25 billion in total giving in 2013, equivalent to around 1% of pre-tax profits, or more than $600 per employee. With that kind of commitment they’d better hope there is an effect on their employees.

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