Dan Edelman and Citizenship

Today we are celebrating the 65th anniversary of Edelman. Dan Edelman was a visionary in so many ways – from establishing Edelman as a marketing public relations firm and creating the media tour to advocating for strong ethics and standards for the profession to hiring senior women leaders in the 1960’s and 1970’s, among so much more.

He was also a visionary about Citizenship. Dan Edelman’s 10 Principles for Success described in Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations include: “volunteer,” “exercise regularly,” “work hard but don’t be a workaholic,” “continue your education,” and “every good answer begins with proper research.” These concepts align strongly to what we are doing in Citizenship around pro bono/skills-based volunteerism, health and well-being, education and training, managing our carbon footprint and workplace diversity.

In bringing the past to the present and to where we want to be in the future, we are taking action in the following ways:

  • We provide 8 hours paid time off per employee to volunteer in the communities where we operate. In FY 16, we provided over $4.6 million in time and cash. Our FY 17 Citizenship Report, which will be released later this month, will provide updated information on our pro bono contributions. Some highlights over the past 18 months include:

Edelman teams providing pro bono communications support to a number of organizations and businesses in the wake of disasters and tragedies, including: The City of Houston Public Information Office following Hurricane Harvey, the Charlottesville Office of Communications in response to the Charlottesville tragedy, and Heal Orlando following the Pulse nightclub shooting. We’ve also helped raise awareness for a variety of societal issues such as mental health through Give an Hour: The Campaign to Change Direction and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s Heads Together programs along with veterans issues through our annual Veteran Well-Being Study to women’s economic empowerment through pro bono support for the G(irls)20 summit held in Munich among others. To honor the best pro bono program in support of a non-profit organization undertaken by an Edelman office, we introduced the Ruth Edelman Citizenship Culture Award last year.

  • We introduced a global Employee Assistance Program last year and are now requiring each office to implement at least one health and well-being program per quarter.
  • We require 24 hours of training per employee through in-person classes or online training via the Edelman Learning Institute which includes modules on communications marketing, workplace behavior, and anti-corruption, among other areas.
  • We implemented environmental policies in response to high stakeholder expectations to transition to a low-carbon economy. These policies include achieving a 5 percent carbon intensity reduction per full-time employee, requiring the use of 50 percent recycled paper and default double-sided photocopying, among other initiatives.
  • Following our father’s example, Richard has established a goal of having women fill 50 percent of our senior leadership positions (Level 5+) by 2020. We are making great progress in achieving this goal with women representing 41 percent of our senior most leaders of the firm, up from 33 percent when we launched this initiative in 2011.
  • Through our partnership with the American Red Cross, we’ve raised more than $28,000 for hurricane relief in the devastated communities in and around the U.S. The impact of these employee donations will go even further since I have committed the Daniel J. Edelman Family Foundation to make dollar-for-dollar matches up to $50,000.

Every day, I am proud to carry on the legacy of my father and mother by leading our Citizenship function. Citizenship has been core to who we are as a company for the past 65 years, and I am optimistic it will be further embedded into who we are going forward. For the last six years we have conducted an all-staff Citizenship survey in which we ask our employees to tell us how important the role of volunteerism and global Citizenship is in choosing to work here. This year, 81 percent agreed that Citizenship was a key factor in choosing to join Edelman, a number that has remained fairly consistent year to year and demonstrates the importance of this work within our culture.

John Edelman is managing director, Global Engagement & Corporate Responsibility.