Most of us want to feel like we’re making a difference with our lives. This desire carries over into how we choose to spend our money and time, how we view other people and businesses, and how we pursue our careers. Over recent decades, there has been a powerful generational shift, with younger people being increasingly likely to consider social good initiatives as an absolutely vital part of any company’s mission. In fact, according to a study by Cone Communications, 94% of Gen Z respondents believe that companies should help to address critical issues in our society. According to their Millennial Employee Engagement Study, 64% of millennials would refuse to even take a job if their employer doesn’t have a strong Corporate Social Responsibility policy, while 83% of millennials say they are more likely to be loyal to a company if that company helps them contribute to social and environmental causes that matter to them.
This clearly illustrates that giving back is not only a great way to make our world a little better, it’s also an important part of developing your business and taking care of your team. There are many examples of famous social good initiatives at big-name companies, like Google, which committed to a five-year plan of giving $1 billion in grants and contributing one million employee volunteer hours to worthy causes; like Salesforce, which created Net Zero Cloud, an initiative committed to helping organizations integrate a complete sustainability management solution into their business model; or like Disney, which launched their Aspire initiative in 2018 to help employees receive a free college education. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to do some good. Now is the perfect time to commit to growing your social good programs, while also making your company stronger in the process. Indeed, by choosing to invest in programs that help others and that allow your employees to be a part of something bigger than themselves, you will improve your employee experience, boost productivity, and ensure that your company is the kind of place that people want to continue to work for.
Far and away, employees are happier when they are working for a company that allows them to invest in causes they are passionate about and that gives them a greater sense of purpose. This includes providing all of your employees with opportunities to connect with your mission and to understand how they contribute to that mission in a meaningful way. If your employees feel stagnant and disconnected from the greater purpose behind their work, they are more likely to leave your organization for one that helps them feel impactful and fulfilled. In fact, according to McKinsey, 31% of people who quit their jobs between April 2021 and April 2022 did so due to a lack of meaningful work.
There are many ways that you can connect your employees to a deeper purpose. At Vector, everything we do comes back to our mission, which is to provide training and technology solutions for everyday heroes so they can make safer, smarter, better decisions. It’s important for all of our employees to understand how they are a part of that mission and why their role matters. The same goes for your company. Maximize your learning and development program by using it to ensure that your team feels connected to the good that they’re doing in the world.
There are countless examples of social good initiatives that can help you develop your own. For example, at Vector, we recently relaunched Vector Cares, an initiative that combines our technology and capabilities to serve our communities with complimentary online courses on critical topics. The goal of this resource center is to help educate our community on important topics related to health and safety, like The Basics of Vaccines, CDC Guidelines for Using Cloth Face Masks, Disinfecting Common Spaces, and Transitioning to a Remote Workforce.
Although these courses are specifically geared towards three groups - students, first responders, and our workforce - they are meant for anyone and everyone who wishes to improve their mental health, like with our course on Stress Management and Prevention; to increase their knowledge of important safety issues, like with our course on Active Shooter Response; and to expand their understanding of issues related to diversity and inclusion, like with our course on Making Schools Safe and Inclusive for LGBTQ Students.
Through this program, we are able to take what we do best - providing critical knowledge, when, where, and how our clients need it through intelligent software solutions - and deliver it for free to anyone who wants to learn more about these important issues. How can you take what your company does best and use it as a way to serve others and to empower your employees with a greater sense that they are working for a company that is committed to improving our communities?
Many companies provide paid opportunities for their employees to give back. This may include more structured volunteer events, like organizing a group to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for a day, helping out at a local soup kitchen, or perusing other corporate volunteer opportunities that your employees can get excited about.
In addition to structured opportunities, it’s important not to just tailor your social good program around what you or other leaders in your company value. To ensure that you are helping your employees connect to a deeper purpose through their job, they need to have the chance to choose to focus on volunteer projects that are important to them. One way this can be achieved is by offering optional monthly or quarterly paid volunteer hours that are flexible according to what your specific employees care about and want to do.
Many organizations offer employee match programs for charitable donations as a part of their efforts to promote social good causes. This can be done in a variety of different ways, but the beautiful thing about this type of program is that it empowers employees to decide where they want to invest their philanthropic efforts with the knowledge that their employer is prepared to support that generosity. In fact, 97% of donors want flexibility in where and how they give to causes they care about. Just the knowledge that their gifts will be matched increases the likelihood of them making a gift in the first place.
Ultimately, social good programs should not be considered superfluous or something that only larger companies have the time and resources to develop. By providing your employees with opportunities - big or small - to give back through their work (in ways that make sense for your industry, company size, and employee make up), you’re helping to provide your team with something that is vital for all people - a sense of purpose. And the power of this purpose is that it will reverberate through everything that they do, leaving you with employees who are happier, more committed to, and fulfilled by their work at a company that is truly making a difference.