In the current socio-economic climate, more and more organizations are prioritizing consideration of their impact on local communities. This includes ensuring their policies and practices are supportive of workers’ wellbeing as well as making efforts to minimize negative environmental impacts.
Organizations that want to go beyond this with civic engagement are often encouraged to do so by their employees, achieving a positive work culture as they engage in efforts that make a difference to the local community. To help you learn more about what corporate civic engagement involves, we provide a detailed definition, discuss the importance, and provide real-life examples of corporate civic engagement.
What Is Corporate Civic Engagement?
Corporate civic engagement involves creating a work environment in which your business addresses issues of public concern. This can include encouraging employees to vote, offering local volunteer opportunities, and more. The phrase “civic engagement” refers to engaging with the local community and encompasses any activity that helps people, the environment, and generally improves lives at the local level.
Benefits of Civic Engagement for Business
Corporate civic engagement is often part of a business’ larger corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is a form of corporate self-regulation in which businesses recognize their impact within the community.
With CSR, businesses view their role as more than just creating product and profit, but as contributing to societal goals. Afterall, businesses do not operate in a vacuum. They rely on the health and well-being of the consumers and the communities they serve. In this sense, CSR is mutually beneficial, and organizations that participate in corporate civic engagement often realize a whole host of benefits, including the following.
Increases Team Building and Brand Awareness Between Employees
By engaging in activities with altruistic goals, people gain a sense of purpose and belonging. When they engage in these activities with coworkers, they often become closer and relate to each other on a more personal level. This sense they gain then transfers into the work environment, improving relationships and leading to better team dynamics and productivity.
Moreover, team members will begin to see corporate goals and branding as aligned with community goals. This leads to a positive association with the corporate brand and can inspire employees to promote the brand more authentically.
Establishes and Strengthens Community Bonds
When a business is seen taking actions that directly help the community, then the community feels more connected to that business. The community begins to see the business as an important pillar. Community members are then more likely to have positive associations with the brand and the name, which not only can lead to greater patronage, but can encourage community support of laws and initiatives that may impact the business.
Creates Marketing and Partnership Opportunities
The more people see your corporate branding, the more they become aware of your organization. And if they frequently see it associated with positive community impact, then this can go a long way in creating a positive image.
Corporate civic engagement can also put members of your business in contact with individuals from other local businesses that are also making efforts to help the community. Partnering with these other businesses on civic engagement initiatives can lead to cross promotion opportunities as well as business partnership opportunities down the line.
Types of Corporate Civic Engagement
Corporate civic engagement can come in many different forms. Everything from mobilizing the vote, to volunteering at community events to engaging with elected officials. Here we describe these different types of engagement in more detail.
Mobilizing Others to Vote
This can be done both within the organization or business itself or out in the community. At the internal level, it may include offering employees paid time off on election days, sending around information about upcoming elections and how to register to vote, and holding events in which employees can learn about what is being voted on in the next election. At the community level, it may include employees volunteering to go door to door and help community members register to vote, holding community information sessions, and more.
Volunteering at a Local Nonprofit
Volunteering doesn’t just help those served by the local nonprofit. Employees who volunteer often leave with an improved sense of community and a connection to others. Consider reaching out to local nonprofits that align with both your employees’ and your corporate interests to see how you can help them out. For example, you can have employees help keep a local food pantry stocked, or volunteer as mentors at a local after school club. These efforts can consist of one-time events as well as ongoing endeavors, depending on the capacity of volunteers.
Engaging with Elected Officials
Note that this is not the same as lobbying or engaging with officials to influence legislation that supports corporate profits. This type of engagement is more focused on issues that impact the community. For example, you can have corporate leaders engage with officials about getting a bond on the ballot to support local schools. Often those in positions of power at corporations have more sway with politicians than a layperson. This means corporations are uniquely positioned to influence legislation in ways others cannot.
Encouraging Civic Engagement in the Workplace
If you’re interested in encouraging civic engagement in the workplace, it helps to have the right tools in place. You can use a platform like Quorum to encourage civic engagement and to help build your brand and community. Simplify corporate civic engagement by streamlining your processes and strategy with trusted software for cross-team engagement.