By | Charlie Fletcher
It should be every business’s top priority — no matter whether you’re in-office, hybrid, or remote — to create a company culture that positively impacts both your employees and your customers. There are many moving parts to a positive culture, from inclusion and diversity to flexible schedules and great benefits.
One of the best ways your business can establish itself as a great place to work and a great venture to support is by getting involved in both sustainability and philanthropy efforts.
More than ever, consumers are becoming more conscious of their purchasing habits. They want to work with brands that take environmental concerns seriously, and those that are doing their part to give back to the planet and people.
Beyond that, being sustainable and philanthropic can create an internal culture that benefits your employees — the bread and butter of your business.
Let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of workplace sustainability and philanthropy, and cover a few ideas that will make it easier for you to start getting more involved in those efforts.
Why Sustainability Matters
From a marketing standpoint, sustainability is a strong selling point for any business. While it shouldn’t be the sole reason you try to “go green,” it’s a great way to show your target audience that you care about the environment and the future, and people are likely to respond to that with sales and positive feedback.
Internally, workplace sustainability matters more than you might think. An employee engagement study by Cone Communications found that 51% of employees would not work for a company that didn’t have policies in place to address social or environmental issues. About 74% of respondents from that same study said that they find a job more fulfilling when they have a chance to make a positive impact on those issues.
Sustainability matters to your employees because it sets the tone for a positive, thoughtful work environment. It shows that you’re making an effort to be a better employer. Whether you create and implement a donation and gift-matching program to an environmental organization or you make more sustainable efforts within the office, the effort you put forth will resonate with your employees, and you’ll enjoy benefits like:
- Improved customer satisfaction;
- Greater attention from investors;
- Reduced turnover rates;
- Better recruitment of top talent;
- Enhanced employee morale;
- More productivity.
Because sustainability matters to so many individuals, it should matter to your brand as a whole. However, it’s only one part of the equation to building a better brand environment.
Staying Positive With Philanthropy
When many people think of philanthropic efforts, their minds go to celebrities or billionaires who spend a lot of their money and time working with specific charities and organizations. It’s great that “big names” draw attention to charities in need, but you don’t need a camera crew following you around to make a big difference. Whether you run a small business or a major corporation, philanthropy should be within the core values of your brand.
Corporate philanthropy is the time, effort, and financial resources your business gives to purpose-driven social initiatives. Many businesses believe it’s their social responsibility to put forth philanthropic efforts.
The best part about these efforts is that you can make them as big or small as you’d like, based on the scope of your company. Something as simple as hosting a local food drive or donating to a major charity can make a difference. Some other philanthropic ideas include:
- Social grants;
- Cash and gift donations;
- Skill-based volunteering;
- A social event sponsorship.
Consider working with your employees to get feedback about the organizations or causes that matter most to them. Or, donate your time and effort to your local community or charities that mean something to your business. When people start to associate your brand with specific philanthropy efforts, they’re more likely to see the “human” side of your business, which can boost both employee and customer loyalty and establish more trust.
How To Improve Your Efforts
So, what can you do to improve both sustainability and philanthropy in the workplace? Start by implementing “green” policies so everyone understands your company values even during the onboarding process. Provide employee training on sustainability, and be active with your reminders by putting signage throughout the workplace and holding “refresher” courses as often as needed. In addition, you can start sustainable initiatives for everyone in the office to take part in, such as:
- Setting up a recycling program;
- Going paperless;
- Managing energy consumption;
- Working with sustainable vendors;
- Creating an office garden.
You can also encourage your employees to practice sustainable habits outside of work, too. Suggest ideas they can do at home, like using less electricity or reducing waste. You could even encourage carpooling as they come into the office each day. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s a great way to build healthy relationships in the workplace. There are also financial perks since your employees will end up saving money on fuel each week.
When it comes to building a more philanthropic culture in your business, you should lead by example. Donate both time and funds to organizations of your choice, and encourage your team to get involved as much as they feel comfortable. Utilize your resources, diversify your causes, and encourage community involvement. The more immersed you are in local charitable efforts, the better your brand recognition will be.
From increased retention and loyalty to a greater appeal to consumers, there are plenty of reasons why sustainability and philanthropy should be priorities within your business. Use these ideas to get started, and work to create a culture that gives back to both the environment and your fellow person — you’ll be rewarded for it.