Giving back as a company is more than good PR.
Giving of your time, talent,and treasure is a way to support your local community and build corporate culture. Buyers today are more conscious of the social responsibility efforts of companies with whom they do business.
Interestingly, the buyer is not the only one being influenced. Top talent is also choosing to work at companies that are socially responsible. According to Gallup’s business journal article entitled “What Millennials Want From Work and Life,” only 29% of millennials are engaged at work. I feel that volunteerism, especially when encouraged and facilitated by one’s employer, can increase this engagement.
So, what is social responsibility? Why is it important to today’s workers and consumers? Social responsibility means that you, as a business, are showing that you care about more than just profits. It is important to consumers because it may inspire people to invest or purchase from your company due to an alignment in moral or ethical stances.
According to Business News Daily, there are a few broad categories of social responsibility that many of today’s businesses are practicing:
- Environmental efforts:One primary focus of corporate social responsibility is the environment. Businesses regardless of size have a large carbon footprint. Any steps they can take to reduce those footprints are considered both good for the company and society as a whole.
- Philanthropy:Businesses also practice social responsibility by donating to national and local charities. Businesses have a lot of resources that can benefit charities and local community programs.
- Ethical labor practices:By treating employees fairly and ethically, companies can also demonstrate their corporate social responsibility. This is especially true of businesses that operate in international locations with labor laws that differ from those in the United States.
- Volunteering:Attending volunteer events says a lot about a company’s sincerity. By doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, companies are able to express their concern for specific issues and support for certain organizations.
Number 4, volunteering, is the one I would like to talk more about today.
The National Council for Volunteer Organizations (NCVO), states a variety of reasons why people choose to volunteer:
- The chance to give something back to the community.
- Make a difference to the people around them.
- Opportunity to develop new skills.
- Build on existing experience and knowledge.
Understanding why people volunteer is important, but so is knowing how to facilitate it as a company. Often times, employers don’t know where to begin when starting a company-wide volunteering effort. Here are some tips for facilitating volunteer efforts at your office:
- Be flexible, if possible, when scheduling work and volunteer time. This can allow for greater commitment from employees to volunteer. It also shows that you are committed to helping volunteers within your company.
- Connect volunteers in the office into an empowered group. Having a volunteer buddy (or three) is a great way to maintain accountability.
- Start small. There is nothing like a series of small wins to get everyone excited! By starting small, you can build to larger and larger victories while keeping the momentum that has begun.
- Lead by example. If the management team is seen volunteering, others will follow.
- Solicit suggestions from employees for volunteering opportunities rather than mandating which organization(s) the company will help.
Get more out of work than a paycheck. Workers will have a higher since of accomplishment, become closer with their co-workers, and have an increased sense of pride. If you want to differentiate your company, hire better talent, and retain employees volunteering may be a good place to start.
I love to hear your feedback! What are your favorite organizations to volunteer for? How do you like to volunteer (time, talent, or treasure)?
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