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Engaged Employees: A Win-Win?

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Originally published on purpose.edelman.com.

As we all know, a company must focus on both delivering a high ROI to its stakeholders, and meeting the needs of its consumers. Today’s consumer not only wants to purchase quality products or services, but also demands more transparency and – our research reveals — would rather make purchasing decisions that he/she believes will impact society in a positive way. About 89% of American respondents reported that companies should be taking action to address social issues, with most supporting conventional methods:

  • 63% believe that companies should donate products or services to social good;
  • 57% believe that companies should donate a portion of their profits to nonprofit organizations;
  • 51% believe that companies should provide educational information about their cause(s).

Additionally, a significant number of respondents recognized engaged employees as an essential and effective form of helping the community. Specifically, 49% believe that companies should offer programs allowing employees to participate in addressing a cause, while 44% believe that companies should provide employees time to volunteer.

One example of a company that supports employee volunteerism is Microsoft [disclosure: Edelman client]. “Community support” is not a foreign concept in Microsoft’s company culture. Through its Volunteer Grant Program, Microsoft matches employee volunteer time with a remarkable $17 per hour donation to the nonprofit. International employees are provided a minimum of three days of paid time off to volunteer in their local communities. Through these tactics, the company enables its employees to do their part in the world while supporting them in whichever issues they personally wish to help solve. Society, individuals, and the companies themselves benefit from such programs: experts tell us that providing volunteerism opportunities results in increased employee satisfaction in the workplace and a higher employee retention rate.

Of course, many companies today are developing innovative ways to create engaged employees. Promoting volunteerism and matching programs are terrific first steps. What are other ways that companies are leading the charge with their employees? Leave examples in the comments!

Kristian Merenda is SVP of Business + Social Purpose at Edelman. She recently completed her first book: Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding, available on Amazon.com.

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