Business is changing, and smart leaders are waking up to this change. Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, devoted his entire 2019 Letter to CEO's talking about this change. Amply titled 'Purpose & Profit,' Fink talks about how consumers have changed the business landscape, demanding that companies deliver higher levels of transparency and commitment to social good. Also, more important to our message, he talks about how today's talent is changing Business.
"Over the past year, we have seen some of the world's most skilled employees stage walkouts and participate in contentious town halls, expressing their perspective on the importance of corporate purpose. This phenomenon will only grow as millennials, and even younger generations occupy increasingly senior positions in Business. In a recent survey by Deloitte, millennial workers were asked what the primary purpose of businesses should be – 63 percent more of them said "improving society" than said "generating profit."'
Because today's talent cares so much, companies need new ways to create impact internally and display impact externally. This need is consistent across Business, but the ability to address these needs is not. Large companies can lean on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) teams or expensive SaaS solutions while growing companies are often left to lean on overstretched 1-3 person "People" teams responsible for 300+ employees. Having conducted 40+ deep-dive interviews with companies varying in size, we can confirm this uneven playing. Here's what we heard from growing companies:
"We are giving, but it's ad-hoc. We have a small 'Cares Team' or we give to causes our C-Suite is passionate about."
"We'd love to do more, but we don't have the bandwidth to manage ongoing giving & volunteering, let alone track those efforts."
"We know there are providers in the market to help, but they seem like overkill. We need inexpensive, and painstakingly easy."
If you are one of these companies that wants to engage your team in giving but struggles to make things less ad-hoc, here are some strategies to consider:
Creating Impact Internally:
Start with company values and employee sentiment: Consider your company values—or even your company products/services—and how they align with a particular charitable cause (or set of philanthropic causes). Then survey your employees to find out their favorite causes. Now compare what you've got!
Get tactical and consider execution: Take volunteering as an example...is it more conducive to your operating model for employees to volunteer in small teams on different days, or would a single, company-wide opportunity make more sense? And for either option, how would you coordinate with the nonprofit partners, market to employees internally to ensure strong attendance, and physically get your employees in place to serve?
Displaying Impact Externally:
Make sure you measure your impact: Giving back to the community is a huge positive boost your company culture and employee experience. But, merely experiencing said giving is only the first half of the equation. The second half of the equation, where you will see the real ROI to the business, is being able to tell your "story of impact".
Identify who would benefit from knowing your impact: Once you're in a position to tell your "story of impact", then think about audience. For example, recruiting is largely an exercise in storytelling and socially-conscious millennial recruits would love to know about how you empowering your people to make the world a better place at work.
Beyond recruits, your customers would benefit from knowing. If you are a B2C product company then a quick Google search show you data on how important "improving society" is to today's consumers. Or, if you are a B2B service company, then you've probably received RFPs with sections on what you've done to positive impact the communities in which you work and live.
These suggestions might seem like a lot, but help has arrived! Percent Pledge exists. We make it easy to make an impact that is particular to your company's values and privy to employees interests. Percent Pledge will help you leverage giving as a new -- highly positive -- competitive advantage. So when you're ready to care as much as today's top talent does, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.