Last week the Taproot Foundation surveyed 450 business professionals about their attitudes toward corporate philanthropy and community service. The research covered a wide range of related issues including the challenge companies face when cutting jobs while simultaneously engaging in community investment.
We will be distributing the report publicly on Friday. This week I am sharing the results of key sections of that survey and sharing my read on the implications. Today’s post, the final one in the series, covers how corporate service continues to provide HR benefits.
Part 1: Can You Be Charitable While Doing Layoffs?
Part 2: Bailed Out Companies Bailing Out Nonprofits?
Part 3: Need For Corporate Leadership
Part 4: Does Service Still Matter to HR Today?
The business case for corporate philanthropy and community service is typically anchored in the benefits they provide to human resources. It is seen as a good way to attract talent, engage employees and avoid losing them. The research shows that in stable economic times professionals are attracted to good corporate citizens and that community investment does improve employee engagement and satisfaction.
Does this still hold true when unemployment has skyrocketed and more companies are cutting jobs than are hiring?
Based on our survey, we believe the answer is” Yes” but that the benefits of philanthropy and service have shifted.
75% of professionals said that they would be proud of their company for investing in the community right now. On the other hand, they generally felt that it wasn’t a greater driver for attracting new talent. Only 30% agreed with the statement that unemployed professionals are more likely than usual to take an employer’s community investments into consideration when choosing a job.
As a tool for employee engagement, only 10% felt that volunteer opportunities are NOT necessary to engage employees, because they are just lucky to have jobs right now that their need for continued engagement has diminished. It clearly remains important to achieve this end.
The likely reason for this came to light in response to another question. 73% reported that giving time and money helps them stay positive when things are not going their way. Given the state of most companies and the abundance of stress, employees clearly need outlets to help them stay up beat.
During the next few years, companies should focus their business case less on recruitment, and instead, they should work on building programs and messaging that show how a company’s giving and service efforts are things to take pride in. This provides a chance for companies to focus on something bigger than themselves and their day-to-day concerns.
If companies refocus in this way they are likely to see strong HR business benefits.
This is the final post in this four part series on Taproot Foundation’s survey about corporate philanthropy and service during a recession.