Facilitating Employee Engagement and Increasing Corporate Financial Performance

Already deep-seated in the culture of the world’s most successful organizations, corporate giving is on the rise. All over the world, employers are stepping up efforts to engage with the community as well as the workforce in order to enhance their company’s brand, attract new talent and retain customers. This trend towards giving back follows research that shows a strong connection between employee engagement and financial performance, even during tough financial times. Despite recent economic uncertainty, stats from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) show that 59 percent of companies actually increased their total giving from 2007 to 2012.

To get started with giving back, employers should assess their existing culture to determine which type of corporate philanthropy program would be the most impactful. The very best examples of these initiatives work to rally employees around the causes that they value the most. In a study out of Northwestern University, employees were asked which opportunities were most important to them; those surveyed said that energy efficiency initiatives, social innovation opportunities and charitable contribution matching programs ranked highest. Today’s employers need to recognize that the biggest contributor to an employee’s commitment is how well the individual fits within a company culture and how closely they share its values and go from there (download the whitepaper)

With an understanding of existing culture and values in hand, employers should determine a set of goals that will define the initiative and further motivate their employees. Is employee engagement their top priority for global giving? Or community outreach?

The research from Northwestern shows that the more committed an organization is to developing a comprehensive program, the higher the employee engagement levels. Consider that there are several elements that can be included as part of a corporate philanthropy initiative: multiple-channel programs that support employee contributions, volunteerism or pro bono services, matching gift donations, flexible payment methods, incentive programs and celebration events. And remember, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to corporate giving; instead, employers should offer a number of organizations and activities to inspire participation and engagement year-round.

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