This post was featured in Forbes.com.
Now that the economy is picking up steam, top talent is in even higher demand. So how can you make your company stand out from the crowd?
Three words: corporate volunteer programs. But don’t just take my word for it; there are firms out there that actually research these things. For example, a 2011 Deloitte Volunteer Impact study found that 61% of Millennials would consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision. The study also found those who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees.
For a real-world example that proves the connection between corporate social responsibility and recruitment, take a look at what Timberland does to help preserve Mother Earth for future generations—and increase their own bottom line.
Many recognize the iconic yellow Timberland boot, but few may be aware of the company’s consistent efforts to foster corporate philanthropy. Manufacturers of rugged outdoor footwear, apparel and accessories, Timberland sets a great example of how to attract employees, protect the environment and still maintain the corporate giving bottom line.
Everyone Rolls Up Their Sleeves
Timberland’s commitment to corporate social responsibility starts at the top and is supported by just about every employee on a volunteer basis. Their Path of Service™ program, which recently celebrated its 20thyear, provides employees with up to 40 hours of paid time off for community service. Employees are also offered the opportunity to apply for extended Path of Service™ opportunity to serve in the wake of a disaster or to work longer term on a capacity building project for a nonprofit organization. For over 20 years, the company has sponsored City Year, a type of urban Peace Corps, and for the past fourteen years they have sponsored Earth Day events all over the world. Employees (and sometimes their kids as well) have cleaned up New Hampshire beaches, planted trees were planted in Germany and Thailand, improved urban spaces improved in Spain, picked up rubbish picked up in Japan, and planted, weeded and fertilized a field of tree seedlings in China.
Senior Manager of Community Engagement Atlanta McIlwraith reports positive proof that Timberland’s community service and social responsibility activities help with recruitment. Timberland administers an Employee Global Survey every two years and the most recent survey showed 67% of employees saying they strongly agreed or agreed that the company’s commitment to the community and its Path of Service™ program played a strong role in their decision to work at Timberland.
Once approval for a particular non-profit is given by one’s manager, community service hours are tracked through the payroll system and results are provided each year in the company’s corporate social responsibility report. “Rather than just writing checks, if we support people in having a taste of the difference they can make in their community, hopefully they will take on more of that type of activity on their own time,” says McIlwraith.
In addition to recruiting great employees, the company sincerely believes that community service matters to consumers. As the general public becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, they in turn expect companies that they do business with to share their values in the products they offer and the way they operate. That’s why Timberland continuously monitors and measures its environmental impact, whether it’s making products from recycled materials, volunteering in local communities or improving working conditions in suppliers’ factories. “We are a values-driven brand,” McIlwraith concludes, “and when consumers see us show up in their community and serve, it just augments that impression of being authentic in our commitment to the environment and to communities.”