Doing Good is Good for Business
In the past companies may have sponsored an employee raising funds for a local good cause or encouraged staff to participate in the annual float race down the river to raise funds for the local hospital, however many companies are starting to recognise that increased involvement in their local community can reap rewards, especially when they plan their involvement.
It’s true that for most companies, community involvement is not a wholly altruistic venture. When done properly it delivers benefits for both the business and community in which it is located, which has huge appeal for potential employees – as borne out by the findings of the “Net Impact’s Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012” which found that 65% of the students who responded to the survey expect to make a social and environmental impact through their work and that 45% would be willing to take a 15% pay cut for a job that makes a social or environmental impact.
Why Engage with the Community
- A Company may face opposition from the local community in relation to proposed changes to its activities or expansion of the site, for example. The engagement and development of a strong relationship with the community based on goodwill and trust will go a long way to preventing or reducing this opposition.
- A Company that demonstrates strong values and a commitment to the community can improve its reputation and be able to differentiate itself from competitors – which can increase customer loyalty and sales.
- Investment in education, skills training and supporting sustainable sources of income communicates positively to shareholders and employees about the values of the company, and enhances the Company’s reputation locally.
- Workers are provided with the opportunity to develop skills and competencies, such as teamwork and communication, at very little cost to the Company.
- When faced with new challenges, workers feel more satisfied, morale is boosted and motivation increases, which in turn improves staff performance, reduces absenteeism and increases the Company’s ability to attract and keep employees.
- Teaching and training individuals in the Community strengthens the talent pool available to a Company.
How the Community benefits
It’s important that there is a definite positive impact on the Community as a result of the involvement of the Company. As each community is different it’s difficult to provide a definitive list of benefits, potential benefits may include:
- Helps to address local unemployment, a major contributing factor to child poverty, ill health, crime and homelessness.
- Can assist in the development of new infrastructure, such as roads or public utilities, in ways that complement or help fulfil local needs.
- Charitable causes which promote social inclusion and sustainable development are given much needed financial support.
- Volunteers can provide practical support for non-profit organisations with few staff.
- Raises educational achievement and employability skills through the support of under-achieving groups within schools.
Ideas on how to engage with the community
- Paid time off for volunteer or charity work
- Organise company-wide volunteer project
- Participate in local events
- Host an event
- Establish a grant or scholarship programme