4 Ways to Make a Difference by Going Corporate
Many companies are building socially responsible efforts right into the fabric of their organizations.
According to a survey by Cone Communications, 78 percent of millennials decide where they want to work in part based on an organization’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. We talked to two St. Edward’s University experts, Associate Professor of Management Brad Zehner and Professor of Management Kathleen Wilburn, to find out how to make the most of a company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. They offered a few ways — both small and large — that you can work at a corporate job while still making a meaningful difference in the world.
Many companies will match employees’ charitable giving dollar for dollar — a simple and effective way for companies to support their employees’ passions, encourage philanthropic behavior and build their own reputation within the nonprofit community.
Some companies schedule time for employees to work together for volunteer organizations, like helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Others offer paid time off so employees can volunteer for organizations that matter to them. “These policies encourage people to work for the greater good of the community — and they can be amazing professional development activities to get people out of their normal silos to see what’s going on,” says Zehner.
Major corporations — from IBM to Target to Cisco — house corporate social responsibility teams designed to leverage their company’s expertise, resources and financial strength. Employees who work in this arena can earn solid salaries while helping their company do good work around the world and burnish the organization’s reputation.
Corporate social responsibility efforts span the spectrum. At GE, for example, the Ecomagination program encourages all employees to suggest and implement energy-saving ideas both within GE plants and in their communities. Companies like Accenture and Johnson & Johnson partner with organizations like Save the Children and UNICEF and offer their employees volunteer and giving opportunities to benefit these nonprofits. Others, such as Coca Cola, are developing new technologies, like the world’s first bottle made entirely of plant materials, that make their own work greener and more sustainable. “Corporate responsibility can take so many forms. The best are developed by — and have inspired the commitment of — their employees,” says Wilburn.
Not all corporate social responsibility efforts look the same, so the key is to find the one that fits with your own values.
The MBA program at St. Edward’s University builds highly sought-after skills in entrepreneurial thinking, social enterprise, innovation, global collaboration and business analytics — the areas business leaders need in today’s business world.
Erin Peterson is a freelance writer.
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