One of the most significant and growing trends in the world of business is the development of charitable initiatives or programs in the office. While many companies, especially larger operations, have always donated to charity, in the digital age, when marketing and image are everything, companies are going above and beyond to design and promote charitable outreach programs. The enterprises are orchestrated in an effort to impress clients, recruit top candidates, and of course, give back to the community.
Charitable programs at work can take many forms, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. Typically they involve allowing employees to arrange days of service, paying employees to take days off to work for a charitable organization and allowing staff to fundraise at work. A common strategy also involves higher management and/or a human resources department matching any money raised by staff for a charity.
Although a few detractors may criticize such initiatives as distracting from work time, an overwhelming amount of organizations support at least some form of philanthropic program. And it isn’t just the charity that reaps the rewards. There are a number of reasons why introducing a charity program at work is beneficial for an organization. Below is a guide to five of the most compelling:
1. It attracts new talent, especially millennials
An organization that has a proven record of giving to charity and sponsoring philanthropic programs will be more successful at recruiting top talent. This is because, as FrontStream argued, candidates will be more inclined to work for an organization in which they can make a difference. The source cited a study that found that up to 73 percent of students felt that a job where they can make a difference was important to their happiness and job satisfaction. For the overall workforce, the figure was a little over half, at 53 percent.
“73% of students want a job where they can make a difference.”
Charitable engagement is clearly a draw for younger candidates. This is primarily because younger workers are expecting more from organizations. In the digital age, millennials are demanding flexibility from their employers, and are also putting a greater emphasis on company culture. Young workers expect their company to give them more than just a salary – they want an experience. And a workforce highly engaged with charitable programs can significantly enhance office culture.
2. It improves engagement
Another hot topic in the world of HR is “employee engagement.” The term refers to a measure of an employee’s satisfaction with his or her job. Engagement is typically measured via metrics such as performance, productivity and satisfaction with office life. According to the Huffington Post, charitable initiatives at work are actually a great way to improve the overall engagement of a workforce. The source cited a study from Deloitte Volunteer Impact, that found that millennial workers who participated in charity at work were up to two times more likely to be highly satisfied with their jobs. The findings are unsurprising: Volunteerism can strengthen workplace relationships, improve office morale and enable employees to feel as though they are working toward the greater good.
3. It’s good for marketing strategies
In the age of social media, an effective marketing strategy is crucial for a company’s success. And promoting a charitable initiative online is a great way for a company to not only promote their services and distinguish themselves as ethical leaders, but also attract new candidates. Indeed, according to Forbes, a number of organizations successfully promote their philanthropy on social media, via platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Such promotion is beneficial not only for the business in question, but also the charity they are helping to promote.
4. It demonstrates ethical responsibility
A business should be concerned with more than just the bottom line. Getting involved with charity work demonstrates that an organization is ethically conscious and willing to give back to society. And as mentioned, staff members and new candidates tend to value ethical organizations more highly than those that are exclusively concerned with making money.
The Huffington Post also suggested that charitable programs can help make the business dealings of a company more ethical in the process. This is because of the awareness that charitable giving can promote: Employees engaged with charity work will likely adopt a more ethical frame of mind, and consequently they will exercise a more ethical approach in their daily work as well.
5. It’s good for leadership and team building
Running a charitable program takes considerable skill in terms of organization and management. Consequently, philanthropic programs at work can actually enhance the leadership skills of staff members, as well as encourage team building. And a team with stronger professional relationships will likely be more effective and productive when it comes to business.