• Michelle Merz

Purpose Aligned with Profit

Competitive business, as well as social pressures, are forcing people to reevaluate the relationship between company and community. When a company makes a firm commitment to the community a priority and part of its core business strategy, it not only helps attract and retain top talent but also positions itself positively among customers and improves its position in the market. Positive, consistent connections to the community can translate into a boost in sales and longevity in your company. No longer an afterthought, community relations is now an expected strategic aspect of business for companies worldwide- a detrimental value for the success and health of the company, its employees, and the community.

But, how does this work? Community engagement boosts employee engagement. Data shows that employees who volunteer score higher in morale, engagement, pride, and productivity than employees who don’t. A survey conducted by Hasbro revealed that their community engagement program is the second reason why employees love to work there, only falling behind year-round half-day Fridays. These findings are in line with numerous other research showing the link between volunteering and engagement. Another example would be a study by The Corporate Executive Board Company that involved millions of employees across several industries. The study found, every employee who participates in corporate-community engagement activities adds $2,400 of value to the company as a result of decreased turnover and increased employee engagement. Because consumers, notably, millennials, are more likely to engage in brands that share similar values, they are also twice as likely to be highly satisfied with their career when the company that employs them, is engaged in charity or volunteer options.

Companies and communities find value in skills-based volunteering. Though traditional volunteering is great, specialized support of charities and nonprofits can also provide great value. This form of volunteering not only taps into existing skills but also helps employees strengthen and develop new skills. Skills-based volunteering is starting to take off at many companies. Research from HP indicated that employees who participate in skills-based volunteering are more satisfied and experience an even greater bounce in morale from volunteering than those who only do extra-hands volunteering. This works out great for small businesses, who often don’t have the money resources that larger companies do to donate. Instead, these employees can put a skill to use to help aid in the community. Companies are folding community engagement into their core business and supporting social change via their own business success. More than 80% of companies connect their community engagement work to key business functions, including marketing/PR, sales, skill-development, recruiting, or diversity and inclusion.

Companies raise their voice to advocate social change. The trend of checkbook philanthropy alone has come to an end. Companies are realizing that they have a unique and powerful role to play in public discourse and action around improving the world. Companies are using community engagement as a strategic means of generating financial returns. 82% of Civic 50 companies choose to maintain a leadership position on a social issue like strengthening STEM education and making it more accessible for children. With everything going on in the world right now, people are looking to stronger, bigger entities to help fight for justice and equal opportunities for all. Using your company’s position and talent for bettering your community is a win for everyone involved. Doing well by doing good, your purpose is then aligned with profit. Forging deeper community connections with customers and employees alike, social impact efforts have strengthened not only their communities but their businesses as well.

Inspired? You should be. We all want the communities that we’re in to thrive, and as businesses, we should be committed to doing our part to ensure that they do. By supporting the growth and development of diverse organizations we can all continue our mission of building strong communities.

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