From water filters that serve the developing world, to banking products that encourage investments in energy efficiency, to action-focused mobile engagement platforms, companies across all industries are empowering their employees to apply their professional expertise to develop solutions to business and social challenges. Distinguished from employee team and skills-based volunteerism, employee-led product innovation is a powerful engagement tool that drives business, social, and environmental impact.
The following is excerpted from Issue 15 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can engage your employees and contribute to your communities by developing a strategic corporate citizenship plan, consider joining us in Chicago on September 13-15, 2017, and in Los Angeles on February 7-9, 2018 for our Corporate Citizenship Strategy: Connect to Your Business and Community course.
For companies with a smaller operational footprint—even though they may have national or even global brand exposure—great value can be achieved by developing a foundational ethos, applying that mission to every aspect of business, from design through delivery, and incorporating it into community involvement strategy.
Founded in 1991 by Marcia Maizel-Clarke and Merlin Clarke, Dogeared, a global accessories brand that focuses on handcrafted jewelry, was built on the premise of community. The company sources the majority of products and materials locally from vendors around the Los Angeles area. Local artisans handcraft all of the company’s unique charms, and jewels are designed and assembled on-site in their Southern California studio.
The following is excerpted from the most recent issue of the Corporate Citizen.
Employee engagement is key to company performance, leading to positive effects such as higher productivity, improved work quality, and decreased job turnover. Employees want to be involved in their work, enthusiastic about the organization they work for, and committed to their fellow workers. Yet less than a third of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014, according to Gallup.
Have you ever considered taking local programs global? Do you want to further engage your employees both in your headquarters country and abroad? Today, many companies are wrestling with the challenges and opportunities that global employee engagement poses in order to remain competitive, protect intangible assets such as reputation, and manage the risks associated with complex global operations.
Let's be honest—every day we wake up with a different level of energy and patience to think big and manage our corporate citizenship efforts. We each juggle the need to be strategists, issue area experts, catalysts for internal and external action, and practical leaders about what we can accomplish. This process is not easy and requires a lot more than caffeine.
Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have drawn in stark contrast the differences of opinion, perception, and experience regarding race relations in the United States. Employers have a role to play in helping to create an environment of constructive dialog and mutual understanding and many are working hard to do so.
Our corporate responsibility (CR) efforts comprise a major part of our culture. They highlight the values of Outerwall, and are designed to attract employees who have a desire to not only work for a successful, growing company, but one that provides a work experience with meaning and purpose. We also understand our actions impact others, and we’re dedicated to keeping that impact positive.
Research has found that professionals who are required to track billable hours are often less willing to volunteer. The pressures of meeting certain quotas can deter professional services firms from taking the time to give back to the community. Quite the opposite trend can be seen at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, however, an international law firm that focuses on intellectual property; corporate, finance, and real estate; and litigation. Whitney Deal, Director, Corporate Citizenship, attributes this trend to the culture of giving back which has been ingrained in the firm’s 153 year-old foundation.
When Robert Musslewhite, CEO of The Advisory Board Company, presented the 2013 challenge of 100% participation in service, $1 million in nonprofit benefit, and 10,000 lives touched, his employees responded. At The Advisory Board Company, employees are encouraged to develop as professionals and lead with both their heads and their hearts. The company culture is driven by a desire to not only go beyond every expectation to serve mission-driven organizations, but to do so with an understanding of the importance of its nonprofit partners’ work. Because of this service-driven mindset, combined with a collaborative approach focused on truly understanding all facets of a challenging issue, they have built deep relationships with their partners.
As more and more companies try to connect their social and environmental impacts to the bottom line, measurement and accountability are becoming a standard. One of the ways to accomplish this is by formally accounting for your company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts and integrating those metrics into the company’s annual financial reports. Dogeared, Inc. decided to formally incorporate ESG standards and transparency into its business by becoming a Certified B Corporation. Given the growing community of B Corporations around the globe, the Center reached out to co-founder, Merlin Clarke, who explained the process of becoming a B Corporation and how it has impacted Dogeared’s corporate citizenship goals.