Investing in Corporate Philanthropy: Why it Matters More This Year
Mar 17, 2017 - Nita Kirby
For those in HR and talent acquisition, one of the biggest topics is how the workforce of today, particularly the millennial subset, gets engaged in the corporate social responsibility of their workplace. Both employees and job seekers monitor brands before deciding what products they buy, services they use and careers they take, based in part on the moral standing of that company.
Last year, Cone Communications discovered just how important making a difference was to today’s worker:
- 74% of employees say they feel more fulfilled by their job when they can make positive impacts on social and environmental issues
- 70% would be more loyal to the company that helps them contribute to issues they feel are important
- 55% of people would take a smaller salary to work for a socially responsible company
- 51% won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong social or environmental commitments
Will 2017 be a true Turning Point?
This year welcomed a new presidential administration. Any new administration poses questions for businesses and corporations within the country. Many large, well-known organizations, especially those in the tech industry, are directly facing the effects of new regulations. Last year, Silicon Valley Index found that 37% of its residents were foreign-born with 50% being workers ages 25-44. Many of these foreign workers hold H-1B visas and provide tech giants headquartered in the area with specialized skills. When the executive order on immigration was signed in late January, only a few weeks after the new President took office, many of those workers were unable to return to their homes and jobs. In response, companies all over the US and world were quick to speak out on behalf of immigrants and in the case of many American organizations, their own workers.
Up until recently, CSR has been a way for companies to connect with audiences - their employees, potential employees, investors and consumers. Now, the political climate is quickly pushing corporations to approach social responsibility efforts in ways they never have before. From acting quickly to entering politically charged conversations with tactful force, organizations are challenged with looking out for their brand image as well as their budget and bottom line. Reed Bundy mentioned this and the reactions of organizations in his post on Triple Pundit:
One week ago, if you searched for large public companies advocating on behalf of refugees, one of the only names that would have surfaced is TripAdvisor, which commits millions each year to support global relief in disaster zones. But today, seemingly overnight, we are seeing the CEOs of hundreds of companies stand in support of basic human rights, opposing religious discrimination, and collectively calling on the reversal of this executive order.
The CSR Employees and Job Seekers Want in 2017
Of course, not all regulations are directly affecting organizations and their ability to do business or employ people. However, that doesn’t change the fact that 84% of Americans are watching businesses to see what responsibility they take in bringing social change on important issues. This trend of outspoken leaders and organizational stances will probably continue. In fact, one report found that 85% of global consumers form their opinion on organizations based on how that company responds to issues and crisis.
There are two sides to every issue, if not three or four, which means companies are in the middle of some complicated decisions. How do they go about developing or managing a CSR program that answers to the political climate and sheds a positive light on their brand? There are, however, some practices your executive team should follow that will support your business and possibly find what is right for your brand.
Take care of your team. At the end of the day, you have an important audience to answer to provide engagement as they are key to keep the business moving. If you can’t point to how and where you take care of your employees, then there’s a good chance your employees can’t either. If decisions made are rooted in what is affecting your employees, you stand a better chance of keeping them satisfied. This goes for more than just CSR.
Stand by the issues that have always been important to your company. There’s nothing wrong with broadening your philanthropic focus, but don’t forget what has made your culture, yours. When things get hectic around us, it’s easy to think we need to take on more and more which means our efforts can be stretched too thin, making them less effective.
Similarly, stand by your mission and values. These are key in how you manage business and are certainly important to how you communicate with all your audiences, investor to consumer. If you feel as though something is challenging those foundational pieces of your organization, then there’s a good chance those important people feel the same and are hoping to see a response.
Keep your communication consistent, transparent and honest. With all the changes, many people feel as though they are standing on tumultuous ground. Your company can be a beacon of stability by communicating clearly and often as well as staying true to all the promises you’ve made. Luckily, if you follow the above tips, you will not have a problem here.
Navigating CSR decisions has always been tough for organizations, but now, more than ever, companies are expected to find their stance on social and environmental issues. The changing political climate has consumers, employees and other businesses watching the moves of those they associate with and, above all, your organization can make a real difference for the world.
Want to see great things happen in your business and the world? Don’t work alone. Take a look at what CyberGrants has done for our clients or download our guide to Strategic Corporate Philanthropy: A Guide for Success. Together, we can make 2017 incredible.
Strategic Corporate Philanthropy: A Guide to Success
Today’s companies understand that it’s about more than signing up for a new system or creating another nameless, ineffective program. A step-by-step guide to a successful execution of a corporate philanthropy program.