Sarah Ford | July 24, 2014

How Companies Can Profit From Doing Good

One company challenged all of its employees to volunteer, and the positive results it soon saw were two-fold.

By Robert Musslewhite

The Dow is still up sharply over last year and unemployment levels have fallen. After weathering the recession, many large and mid-size companies are finding that business is good. But are businesses doing good?

Thousands of companies are trying. They’ve launched corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, dispatching staff to do everything from painting local schools to addressing root causes of poverty.

Yet there’s a key problem: Most employees opt not to participate. In fact, only 3 in 10 employees of Fortune 500 companies volunteered even an hour of their time in 2012, according to a survey by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.

As a result, these firms are missing a huge opportunity–not just to enhance CSR efforts, but also to improve employee recruitment, retention, and productivity, and to establish and reinforce their reputations as good corporate citizens.

Recent research from Deloitte suggests frequent volunteers are more likely to recommend their employer to a friend and are more satisfied with their career progression. One survey even found that a third of respondents would take a pay cut to work for a company that was committed to CSR.

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