Supporting The Increased Drive Toward Corporate Social Responsibility

More than ever, customers, investors, employees and others are taking an interest in the ways in which companies make positive social and community impacts when assessing their performance. This is in addition to, or in some cases even instead of, the traditional view of “how much revenue does the firm generate”. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the industry term used to describe this new corporate measuring stick, and it is meant to reflect the commitment a company has to ethical and sustainable business practices. The four Core Pillars of a CSR Program are:

  • Volunteerism
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Workplace Diversity and Ethics
  • Philanthropy

The Governance and Accountability Institute determined that 90% of companies in the S&P 500 are now publishing a sustainability report.

There are a number of ways a company can embrace CSR initiatives. The most active and engaging is with a corporate volunteerism program. Portfolio company InitLive has already helped many clients implement and manage such programs successfully.

What the InitLive team has learned from these experiences is, whether it is organized corporate events, ongoing programs with local non-profits, employee-led initiatives or other, it is important to make sure any initiative is a part of a larger CSR strategy that has support from senior management. As with any program, success is unlikely without stakeholder buy-in, and in this case those stakeholders include cross-company leaders, board members, HR executives and the employees themselves.

The establishment of a corporate volunteer program brings benefit to the community, the employees and the company. It provides non-profits in the community with access to a new pool of qualified volunteers who can make a big impact. And more employees today, particularly millennials, care about the impact their work and their company have on the world. A corporate program offers them an opportunity to engage in meaningful volunteer activities together with their colleagues, and with the full support of management. As a result, according to the Social Purpose Institute, such purpose-driven employees:

  • Have 20% longer tenures with their company
  • Are 50% more likely to be or end up in leadership positions
  • Are 47% more likely to be promoters of their employers
  • Have 64% higher fulfillment levels in their work

This study also found that 87% of employees who volunteered with their companies reported an improved perception of their employer. And when choosing between two job opportunities, 61% of millennial workers now factor company commitment to their community into their final decision.

Corporate volunteering also enhances team-work among employees and departments, and encourages employees to learn new skills along the way. The employer in turn benefits from more engaged employees and improved social capital — additional, positive PR. To this point, many customers now care just as much about the impact a company they buy from has on the world as they do the value of the products or services. One study suggests that 70% of consumers would recommend a company they see as having a social purpose over one without.

Creating and managing a corporate volunteer program does not need to be a big new administrative headache and workload. As InitLive promotes, the first step toward success is investing in an affordable, easy-to-use volunteer management solution such as the one they provide. InitLive SaaS simplifies the processes associated with designing, executing and tracking the results of all initiatives of this type. It helps companies do greater good in less time. It reduces the administrative burden by as much as 70% and motivates employees to participate more frequently, enabling them to sign up for volunteer shifts with ease, to contribute in a more organized fashion, and to see the impacts of their efforts through a dashboard.

As a closing example, InitLive customer National Grid, which has offices throughout the U.K. and U.S., uses the software to manage their “Grid for Good” initiatives — events designed to expose youth between the ages of 16 and 24, who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, to the benefits of helping others. Thanks to the tools InitLive provides, in this first year of operation the program is providing up to 4,000 young people with up to 12,000 hours of volunteer community work. And the management team has a goal to grow the program reach to 22,500 young people and 125,000 volunteering hours by 2030. A long-term commitment stemming from very positive initial results.

That goal could not be achieved without the help of InitLive, and we share their satisfaction in enabling such ‘socially responsible’ initiatives.