The altruistic act of paying it forward – performing a good deed for someone, without any expectation of repayment — long ago became something more significant in the corporate realm. The idea of a community-minded company, of a company with a conscience, dates back to at least the 1950s, when business started looking for ways to live up to their responsibilities and do good deeds for society. By the 1990s the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) became universally recognized, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that it was an important strategic issue for businesses.
So, how are today’s businesses acting on the CSR and paying it forward? Some corporations have started mixing responsible tourism with corporate travel. This means that their executives spend time supporting entrepreneurs in the country they are visiting for work purposes. Essentially it is an extension of their business trip for the sole purpose of making a meaningful contribution to another society. Others strongly align themselves with charities, or even go as far as donating a percentage of their profits to them.
The bottom line is that paying it forward works well for business. It can help with employee recruitment and retention, as many employees want to align themselves with a socially responsible employer. Here are five reasons why you should consider becoming a kinder company:
It’s been shown to boost staff morale, teamwork, communication and loyalty.
- You’ll get great positive publicity for your business – and boost your reputation.
- You could attract more customers (who prefer to patronize an ethical business).
- It can help you spot and nurture otherwise hidden talents in your team.
- You and your employees will benefit from the physical and mental health benefits listed above.
We’ve all heard the saying, a little goes a long way. The same is true for a company’s CSR and can be tailored to your company’s culture, brand and budget. An organization’s CSR initiative doesn’t have to be huge – every little bit helps! So, what should you look for when paying it forward as a business? Her are five key things:
- Align your giving efforts with your core company values and mission.
- Make the acts fun and engaging for your team so that they want to be involved and are proud to play a part.
- Contribute to your local business community – charity begins at home, as the saying goes.
- Think back to your beginnings; personal or business beginnings – what would have helped you when you were just starting out?
- Utilize your existing skill set.
So, now that we’ve got you hooked on the concept, here are a few suggestions to help you pay it forward as a business to get you started:
- Adopt a Company Charity: Choose a company charity and encourage your employees to help you fundraise for it, for example by doing a sponsored 5k run together.
- Sponsor Your Own Pay-It-Forward Day: Have an annual pay it forward day when you and your employees help out the local community. Ideas can include litter picking, gardening for the elderly, or hosting a free picnic in the park.
- Evoke the Spirit of Competition: Nothing sparks employees quite like a good competition. Challenge employees or departments to see who can raise the most money for charity or make the biggest positive impact locally in a set period of time. If different teams are tasked in a certain amount of time to raise more money, collect more toys, do more public service or perform some other charitable task, there is no telling what might be accomplished. Up the ante – the promise on the part of an employer to match the accomplishment of the winner.)
- Pay to Pay It Forward: Incentivize or fund local pay it forward initiatives led by your employees.
- Give:Donate a percentage of your profits to a charity.
- Create a Corporate Culture of Giving: Actively support and encourage your employees in their personal and professional growth.
- Get involved in Pay It Forward Day: According to its website, this global initiative aims to create “a huge ripple of kindness … across the world.” The stated goal is 10 million acts of kindness — everything from donating to a worthwhile cause to paying for a stranger’s cup of coffee, from collecting books to giving one’s time and/or skill.
Paying It Forward has many benefits – personally and professionally. Those who give tend to be happier and healthier, are more well-adjusted, less stressed and have a greater feeling of belonging. They also tend to have a more favorable impression of their companies. When considering how best a company can pay it forward, businesses should think locally and consider charitable endeavors aligned with their core values. And yes, it should be a team-wide effort.
For more information on how Roper Insurance can help with employee benefits that can help with recruitment and retention, give us a call today at 303.721.1145.