About a year ago, I wrote about the business value derived from a strong corporate volunteering programme. At the risk of repeating myself (and I do, frequently), it is worth restating some essential facts as we mark Give & Gain Day globally.
The Harvard Business Review sets the discussion up nicely when it states, “Not all profit is equal. Profits involving a social purpose represent a higher form of capitalism, one that creates a positive cycle of company and community prosperity1”.
The publication also notes that every company has a role to play in enriching the community in which it is based and that – in doing so – can derive business benefits. “A business needs a successful community, not only to create demand for its products but also to provide critical public assets and a supportive environment. A community needs successful businesses to provide jobs and wealth creation opportunities for all its citizens1”.
One of the ways in which that “successful community” is developed is through a strong corporate volunteering policy that is aimed at improving the monetary and intellectual wealth of the community.
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 initiativereported 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.
Visit the Business in the Community website to find out more about Give & Gain Day.
1. Harvard Business Review, “Creating Shared Value”, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, February 2011