Once upon a time, when a company wanted to give back,
they’d partner with a reputable umbrella charity like the
United Way, set a dollar target, hold a few fundraising
events and match donations made by their employees.
Sound familiar? It’s the corporate social responsibility (CSR) or
workplace giving model that many organizations still follow today.
But, according to CSR specialists, altruistic efforts like these don’t
harness the power and possibilities associated with contemporary
“Historically, top-down, employee-facing CSR initiatives
have been once-a-year arm-twisting exercises to raise money for
a cause the company chooses. There’s nothing particularly engag-ing
about being ‘voluntold’ where and how to give back,” said Bryan
de Lottinville, founder and CEO of Benevity, a digital “corporate
goodness platform” that helps companies create and manage CSR
programs that engage employees and customers. “The opportunity
to infuse the modern employee-employer relationship with a sense
of meaning and purpose requires a more thoughtful approach.”
Over the past decade, the landscape of CSR has changed dra-matically.
■■ Millennials and Generation Z in the workforce: Younger
employees are more socially conscious than boomers and
are accustomed to empowered choice and digital options for
everything. Mechanically giving a portion of their time and
resources for a cause they didn’t choose does not jibe well.
■■ A shifting cultural awareness that good begets good:
More and more, consumers are choosing to do business with
companies that give back to their communities and strive to
make a positive difference in the world at large. They want to
feel that their dollars count toward something meaningful. And
employees – especially younger generations – want to work
with those same companies.
■■ Calls to action from business leaders: Larry Fink, head of
BlackRock, the largest fund manager in the world, recently put
company CEOs on notice: if they want the support of one of
the most influential investors in the world, they have to deliver
more than just compelling financial math; they need to contribute
to society. “Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders,
including shareholders, employees, customers and the
communities in which they operate,” he wrote in an open letter.
COMMUNITY INVESTMENT MAY BE
THE BEST ROI FOR RECRUITMENT,
ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION
By Heather Hudson
22 ❚ MARCH 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL