There are a couple of forthcoming events that have brought community engagement – and particularly volunteering - to the front of my mind. The first is Thursday’s International Volunteer Day, the second is Capgemini’s Community Week which happens next week (it’s not a coincidence).
Our Community Week is primarily an internal campaign with two key objectives:
1. To create an awareness of the work our people undertake in the communities in which we operate.
2. To encourage more of our people to get involved in initiatives associated with Capgemini’s community engagement strategy – especially those initiatives around education.
I remain in awe of the thousands of Capgemini people who give up their time and money to support hundreds of worthy charities and community organizations and, like most companies of our size, corporate Capgemini supports community engagement, too.
As we should.
Because it’s the right thing to do.
Undoubtedly, there is and should be a philanthropic basis for a company to give back to its local community – but, in addition, it is possible to place a business value on community engagement.
A recent publication by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) entitled, Youth Social Action and Transitions into Work: What Role for Employers? presents a very comprehensive view of the many entities that benefit from strong, focussed community engagement – including the employer.
Employee loyalty is a key benefit. The report notes “facilitating employees to get involved in meaningful charitable projects helps cement their identification with and pride in their organisation. They see their employer as benevolent, contributing to the community”
This benefit is supported by the findings of the UK based Business in the Community (BITC) organization who found that 87% of the participants in their aptly titled Give & Gain Day initiative reported an improved perception of their employer while 82% said they felt more committed to their employer.
The CIPD report also asserts that volunteering in the community enhances the skills of employees. Corporate contributors to the report are supportive of providing the means to enable their people to volunteer as they (amongst other benefits) see volunteering as a hands-on, cost-effective mechanism to improve people-management and organizational skills.
Again, BITC research supports this. 70% of employee volunteers, they say, reported developing their time management, communication, influencing, decision-making and leadership skills.
Community engagement, therefore, makes sense. Sense to the disadvantaged or unfortunate at the receiving end, sense to the organizing charity, sense to the employee and – most definitely – sense to the business.