Why it pays to let staff carry out char­ity work

Giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity can bring ben­e­fits to em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees, writes CareerOne Edi­tor Cara Jenkin.

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VOL­UN­TEER­ING, fundrais­ing and sup­port­ing a good cause can boost a young worker’s ca­reer and a com­pany’s rep­u­ta­tion as well as the work of the char­ity or so­cial or­gan­i­sa­tion, re­search shows.

The Aus­tralian Cen­tre for Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity sur­vey finds that be­ing a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen im­proves the rep­u­ta­tion of a com­pany and gives it a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in its mar­ket as well as al­low­ing scope for staff to de­velop new prod­ucts and ser­vices through the re­la­tion­ships formed.

Its State of CSR An­nual Re­view: 2010-2011 re­veals 80 per cent of com­pa­nies with cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­grams have recorded a strength­ened rep­u­ta­tion be­cause of its prac­tices and 60 per cent be­lieved cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity led to re­duced costs.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dr Lee­ora Black says cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity is gain­ing trac­tion as a strate­gic busi­ness op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘Or­gan­i­sa­tions are re­port­ing in­creas­ingly strong links be­tween cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ca­pa­bil­i­ties and pos­i­tive per­for­mance – eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial,’’ she says.

‘‘The busi­ness case for cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity is also widely ac­cepted by or­gan­i­sa­tions, al­though our re­search shows there’s still a long way to go be­fore cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity is truly in­te­grated into busi­ness strat­egy.’’

Ac­count­ing firm KPMG en­cour­ages staff to be part of its cor­po­rate cit­i­zen­ship pro­gram and out­lines its work dur­ing its in­duc­tion process. The firm pro­vides vol­un­teers and fundrais­ing sup­port for char­i­ta­ble and not- for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions with a fo­cus on so­cial in­clu­sion, health, ed­u­ca­tion and en­vi­ron­ment.

Staff can choose which or­gan­i­sa­tions they want to sup­port and the ex­tent of their in­volve­ment and re­ceive one leave day a year to ful­fil any vol­un­teer­ing du­ties.

Pro­gram lead part­ner Mark Wat­son says it helps at­tract topqual­ity em­ploy­ees who gain skills from be­ing in­volved.

‘‘Grad­u­ates are in­creas­ingly look­ing for an em­ployer with a strong track record in cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity,’’ he says.

‘‘KPMG wants to cre­ate a work­ing en­vi­ron­ment where our peo­ple de­velop pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally. Our cor­po­rate cit­i­zen­ship pro­gram al­lows all our staff, from grad­u­ates to part­ners, to con­trib­ute to the com­mu­nity in ways they may not have been able to be­fore.’’

Yes­ter­day, KPMG’s grad­u­ate em­ploy­ees held a fundrais­ing drive, sell­ing mer­chan­dise and tak­ing do­na­tions for the Starlight Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion.

‘‘While be­ing in­volved in com­mu­nity work is per­son­ally re­ward­ing to all staff in­volved, it also ben­e­fits the firm by en­hanc­ing our em­ployer brand,’’ Mr Wat­son says.

‘‘It helps us at­tract the well­rounded peo­ple who will best con­trib­ute to our cor­po­rate cul­ture and helps us con­tinue to make a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity.’’

Pic­ture: Jo-Anna Robin­son

KPMG’s Mark Wat­son with Austin Tre­maine and Re­becca Smith. KPMG as­sists Starlight Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion with fundrais­ing.

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