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.
Helping communities rebound from a traumatic event or natural disaster requires multi-level and cross-sector effort. There are immediate needs to be met—such as trauma support—and in the case of extreme weather events—food, water, and shelter. To make the most of their disaster relief programs, corporate citizenship professionals must partner internally and externally to make the best possible use of all available resources, from community involvement efforts like corporate giving and volunteering to more operational activities like security, logistics, and supply chain management.
Disasters, no matter what their scale, have economic ramifications in addition to the social and environmental consequences. According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, wildfires, floods, droughts, and other natural disasters were responsible for more than a trillion dollars in economic damage in 2015 and that number is only expected to increase as climate-related natural disasters become more frequent.
The following is excerpted from Issue 15 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how you can develop and execute a stakeholder engagement strategy, structure, and process to maximize business and social value, consider joining us in Phoenix, AZ on December 6-7, 2017 for our Stakeholder Engagement: Identify, Prioritize, and Act course.
The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s 2015 Community Involvement Study finds that nearly 60 percent of companies engage employees at all levels and one-third of companies engage stakeholders other than employees and customers to help determine which social issues to support (see Figure A). Through its foundation, Northwestern Mutual exhibits the importance of strategic stakeholder engagement through its community involvement efforts, especially its signature Childhood Cancer Program.
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes an increased focus on corporate giving initiatives. From localized donations such as food and toy drives to broader efforts like the annual #GivingTuesday campaign, companies are ramping up their corporate giving programs. As our calendar year comes to an end and many are moving into new budget cycles this spring, it is a good time to assess your giving strategy and make sure it is designed to maximize both social and business value. All giving is good AND you can increase the effectiveness of your company’s giving program by employing the resources and capabilities unique to you, addressing the causes most relevant to your business operating context, and mobilizing your employees. If you activate your program on all three of these fronts, you will make an impact that continues well beyond the holidays.
The following is excerpted from Issue 16 of The Corporate Citizen magazine. To learn more about how companies are using corporate citizenship to achieve business and social value, check out our issue archive.
As a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world, eBay empowers people and creates opportunity. In late 2015, the company decided to make a large investment in the engine that drives this success—its people. In December 2015, the commerce leader announced new paid family and medical leave policies, joining the ranks of tech companies such as Google that have recognized that a healthy and engaged workforce is key to retaining talent and staying competitive.
Healthier employees are more productive and engaged in their work. They are less likely to call in sick or use vacation time for illnesses. They also perceive their companies as invested in their well-being and as more attractive places to work. However, the risks of an unhealthy workforce are as significant and numerous as the benefits of a healthy one.
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 through employee volunteering programs, consider joining us for our Employee Volunteer Programs with Purpose course.
Community involvement efforts—once a way for well-intentioned companies to connect with people in their area—are now an essential part of corporate citizenship programs and have evolved to become a strategic component of business.
Here at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we’re asked to provide insight and expertise on the complete spectrum of corporate citizenship practices. Our more than 420 member companies are interested in issues ranging from environmental impact reporting to nonprofit board placements—as well as every area in between. One issue that is consistently among the most popular topic of discussion, however, is one of the foundational elements of early CSR—employee volunteer programs. A main focus of corporate citizenship programs year-round, employee volunteer initiatives are especially popular now—during the spring and summer months—when the warmer weather offers a broader array of available activities.
The focus on employee volunteer programs is hardly surprising. Employee volunteer programs offer a myriad of benefits to both businesses and the communities they serve. Research finds that they encourage stronger employee engagement, increase retention, and better job performance. The Center’s own research supports these findings. Our 2015 Community Involvement Study finds that more than 90 percent of companies list improved employee engagement among the top three benefits of an employee volunteer program. Furthermore, companies themselves have found empirical support for the relationship between volunteering and employee engagement. Of the 60 percent of companies that measure the connection between engagement in their employee volunteer program and employee engagement, 89 percent found a positive correlation (see Figure A).
Nonprofit board placement programs have grown in popularity and importance as companies and employees realize the rewards of sustained, high-level engagement in community organizations. According to the 2015 Community Involvement Study, nearly 70 percent of companies offer a nonprofit board program to their employees as a part of their volunteer program offerings (see Figure A). This is a huge change from 2011, where the same study revealed that only 26 percent of companies offered nonprofit board programs to all of their employees.
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.