The Case for Corporate Citizenship

Building citizenship into your culture empowers employees, improves productivity, and delivers breakthrough value in our own communities

Julie Howard, NavigantThere is no ambiguity about it — doing good is good for business. Today, more than ever before, there exists a baseline expectation from employees, clients, and shareholders alike — companies must actively promote, encourage, value, and invest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Companies need to be positive, contributing members of their local communities, and progressive leaders need to consider and nurture the role that their organization will play beyond their economic contributions.

Moreover, a long-term commitment to citizenship is a strategy that investors rightly expect, as Blackrock’s Larry Fink noted earlier this year. This key tenet in Fink’s letter to CEOs was not a surprise. The benefits of “doing good by doing good” have been validated time and again, perhaps most recently by the Kellogg School of Management, which noted that companies who commit to long-term CSR strategies send powerful signals to investors about the health of their organizations.

From my vantage point, while the value in CSR and citizenship initiatives may be imperceptible to some, the benefits are actually tangible and measurable. It is the influence of CSR on culture and, by extension, total employee value proposition, that drives real value for the company. 

Oftentimes in a global, heavily matrixed organization it can be challenging to invest in the “connective tissue” that enlivens long-standing values. By implementing enterprise-wide community outreach and sustainability programs rooted in core values, geographically disconnected office locations have opportunities to build and demonstrate consistent expectations, goals, and outcomes, while positively impacting their own local cultures.

According to Project ROI (2015), effective CSR programs increase employee engagement by 7.5%, reduce turnover by 50%, and increase productivity by up to 13%. These are remarkable metrics that help improve business performance while bettering the lives within our communities. Undoubtedly, companies who remain committed to effective CSR initiatives see enhanced performance in the marketplace.

At Navigant, we have dedicated April as our Community Connections Service Month. All month long our professionals around the world work hand-in-hand with local charitable organizations to improve the communities in which we live and work. Currently our overarching service theme is One Million by 2020 (or 1Mx2020), which unifies our global citizenship efforts as we team up to positively impact the lives of one million youth over the next few years. Youth today are tomorrow’s decision-makers. We see our focus on their opportunities, skills, education, and health as vital to everyone’s future. 

“Doing good by doing good” is good business. Building citizenship into your culture empowers employees, improves productivity, and delivers breakthrough value in our own communities on a sustainable basis. In the end, ongoing prioritization of CSR and citizenship programs ensures that every employee has the opportunity to make a difference where it matters most to them. And that simply feels good – to all of us. 

 

This article originally appeared in LinkedIn.

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