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4 Reasons to Be A Socially Responsible Employer

August 31, 2017

“Volunteer Opportunities Available” is not always the first line that employers think to include in job descriptions. However, more and more job seekers are researching companies to see if they're affiliated with non-profits or charities that would afford them the opportunity to get involved. If your organization has an established relationship with a nonprofit, including volunteer opportunities in the job description allows you to display the impact you are making outside of the office and your employees' day-to-day responsibilities. If your organization is not affiliated with a nonprofit, here are few reasons to consider getting a jump on this initiative.

1. People care, and they want their employer to as well.

You may be surprised how many people care about the work companies do outside of the four office walls. In fact, 81% of millennials want their employers to be good corporate citizens. And as this group is rapidly becoming the majority of the workforce, addressing this demand will become more of a necessity than an option. 



Here at PSI, we formed a committee called CARES to spearhead the process of selecting the organization that we would partner with and navigate our role in the partnership. Committees are not a new concept to PSI, but this particular committee was a first for us in 2017. The interest was remarkable - we had more people sign up to participate in CARES than any other committee in the office.

2. There is strength in numbers.

More times than not, these volunteer hours take place in groups of varying sizes. You may be able to attract more employees to participate when they know some of their fellow volunteers and won’t be thrown into a group of strangers. Don’t get me wrong, there are always people who flourish independently, but allowing for some familiarity with the people involved makes you more likely to attract both introverts and extroverts. Not to mention the added support you are providing to the organization(s) of choice by supplying them with more volunteers.

At PSI, we came up with a plan that worked with both our leadership and the non-profit we chose. This ensured that we had enough people in the office to keep the ship afloat, while still providing enough volunteers to the organization to be productive and useful.

3. You’ve already done the legwork.

Oftentimes, employees have the drive to get involved with a cause or organization but aren’t sure about where to start. They did some Google searches here and there but didn’t pull the trigger to pick up the phone or send the email. If you are a socially responsible employer, you have already done the due diligence and taken those steps, making it that much easier for your employees to just show up and get started.

And don’t underestimate the importance of this advance research. By partnering with an organization, you want to be sure that it is representative of your values and culture. We spent many hours, here at PSI, vetting different non-profits across the country based on the criteria we established in advance. Things like the percentage of donations that directly reach the non-profit’s beneficiaries, proximity to our headquarters, and types of activities that our employees could be involved in, all played a role in the final decision.

4. It benefits everyone!

Those looking to get involved now have an outlet to do so AND approval from their employer. Particularly, with group volunteering, you are giving your employees a fantastic team-building opportunity that reaches beyond typical happy hours or company picnics. Not only that, but according to research, employees who value personal fulfillment at work, versus only working for a paycheck, found their jobs more rewarding and were more likely to endorse their employers. For companies struggling to cater to those purpose-driven employees, volunteer opportunities will put you directly on that path toward better engagement. And again, let’s not forget the benefits you are providing to the organization(s) and the positive PR that comes with it.

Speaking from personal experience, our involvement with the non-profit at PSI has been incredible. As one of "those millennials" who feels it is important for corporations to use their influence to give back, this partnership has been rewarding and educational. I find myself voluntarily offering details of the positive experiences and optimism so that more companies will follow suit.

Ford Motor Company CEO, Mark Fields, quoted Henry Ford, saying, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Giving your employees the opportunity to become part of a greater cause will ultimately lead to happier employees who are more likely to stay and positively promote your company. Keep in mind that even small steps toward becoming a good corporate citizen, like instituting a recycling program in the office, will make a difference.

So, the real question isn’t if you will get started, but when.

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Vicki Cooper Vicki Cooper is a former Consulting Associate based in PSI's Pittsburgh office. She worked with clients across many different industries, but specialized in manufacturing selection and development. She oversaw assessment programming and implementation, interview guide development, and day-to-day client needs.