Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina not only devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It also shattered the confidence Americans had in their government to respond to domestic emergencies.
The New York Times’ recent expose of working conditions inside Amazon has set off a tsunami of discussion about how far Corporate America is willing to push employees to excel. The piece describes a dystopian universe where Amazon employees are encouraged to anonymously report on each other through the company’s Big Brother-esque management software; where people are put on notice that their jobs are on the line when they’re distracted by personal crises like cancer or a stillborn child; and steady turnover is characterized as “purposeful Darwinism.”
The news this past year has been depressing, to put it lightly. The year 2015 is marked by one of the worst refugee crises since World War II, community disintegration in places like Baltimore, and church burnings at a rate not seen since the height of the civil rights movement. Millennials, in particular, are a generation that is unusually attuned to social issues. As a result, events such as these often cause millennial employees to question the impact they are making with their work. This is part of the reason that our average stay with any one employer is only 2.5 years.
Practicing corporate social responsibility makes companies look good and helps their leaders and employees feel like good corporate citizens, too. But does it offer tangible benefits to a company’s bottom line?
When we think about the top qualities of strong business leaders, we tend to skip over one essential trait: creativity.
Among the important gatherings around social entrepreneurialism taking place this year, there’s one I’m particularly excited about: The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF). Although only in its second year, SIGEF has already proven itself to be a substantial platform for international dialogue and action aimed at improving the world.
I’m proud to be a resident of the Bay Area. It’s been about a year since I moved back here, and the city has so recharged me that now I can’t believe I ever left. No place on earth is fueled as singularly from the electricity of entrepreneurism, a belief in the power of good ideas and the confidence to risk everything to see these ideas through. It’s an energy that wakes me up in the morning and keeps me caffeinated all day.
Every day, I work with corporate leaders who understand the power of business platforms to make a difference. Regardless of the specific professional missions of their companies, these executives recognize that there’s a natural social mission they can tap into that will transform their place in the world, greatly impacting their communities, employees and bottom lines. The companies that fully embrace this higher purpose open themselves up to an exciting journey that enriches their culture and keeps them rapidly evolving as organizations.