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Businesses make a difference by committing to societal impact—how yours can too

by | Dec 20, 2018 | Public Relations

In case you missed it, company stakeholders have great expectations of brands and businesses these days—from implementing more diversity and inclusion in the workforce to speaking out on cultural and societal issues that concern them, consumers and employees have raised the bar for doing business with a company and working for them.

A growing number of American workers expect their employer (current or future) to contribute to the community and world around them, according to new research from financial services firm MetLife—and these expectations have only risen in the past year. The company’s new Role of the Company survey underscores the importance that workers place on social impact—and the rewards that companies can earn from good corporate citizenship.

According to the research, 70 percent of employees say that companies must work to address society’s challenges, up from 63 percent in 2017. More than half (52 percent) expect their employer to help solve issues even if they are not central to the company’s business, up from 41 percent a year ago.

Today’s employees have high expectations of companies’ actions outside of the office

Eighty-five percent say good corporate citizenship is important in the company for which they work. Making a difference in the local community (76 percent) and making a difference in the world (72 percent) are almost equally desired by employees, but many feel their current employers could be doing more—only half say their current company delivers on these expectations (50 percent and 47 percent, respectively).

Looking over the next five to 10 years, two-thirds of employees expect companies to have greater involvement in improving the environment (69 percent, up from 60 percent in 2017), and local communities (65 percent, up from 55 percent).

“As the boundaries between work and life continue to blur, employees want to work for companies that have a positive societal impact,” said Mike Zarcone, executive vice president and head of corporate affairs for MetLife, in a news release. “Companies that demonstrate—and articulate—a commitment to good corporate citizenship have a leadership advantage in today’s evolving workplace.”

When employees feel alignment between their values and their work, companies benefit from increased loyalty and motivation

Eighty-five percent of employees who work for companies that reflect their values describe themselves as “loyal” to their company and 54 percent are willing to go above and beyond at work, compared to 44 percent and 4 percent, respectively, when values don’t match.

To create greater alignment, the most important factor is trustworthy leadership, which 93 percent of workers say is important but only 61 percent feel that their company delivers. Also important is caring about personal well-being, which 88 percent of workers say is critical and only 57 percent believe that their company delivers.

MetLife’s survey on The Role of the Company was conducted in August 2018 and was fielded by Engine (formerly known as ORC International), a leading business intelligence firm. The survey comprised 1,000 interviews with part-time and full-time U.S. employees, ages 21 and over. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1%.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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