Free Enterprise Staff  | August 12, 2014

6 Businesses that Encourage their Employees to Do Good

Nowadays, the lackluster jobs market is affecting not only workers, but also employers, who are jockeying to lure the best and most talented applicants. Besides offering competitive wages and enviable perks, many businesses are directly appealing to candidates’ sense of community, as they take a more active role in fostering volunteerism efforts at home and abroad.

Taken as a whole, companies have overwhelmingly moved over the past decade to provide employees a wealth of enticing benefits, according to the results of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (S.H.R.M.) 2013 Employee Benefits report.

Researchers at the organization, which represents 260,000 members across the globe, found that aside from standard policies—paid holidays, for example, are available at nearly every firm—paid volunteer time is now offered by 20% of employers. That’s up significantly from 2009, when only 15% of companies held such a policy.

The study determined, moreover, that nearly a quarter of all businesses match their employees’ charitable contributions—up from the 18% who said they did so the year before.

Becoming a leader in corporate responsibility and engagement could help companies curry favor with millennials—those born between 1982 and 1999—in the short- and long-term, a study conducted by Cone concluded. Roughly 80% of millennial survey respondents said they wanted to “work for employers who care about how they impact and contribute to society.”

What’s more, 44% of millennials said that they would actively pursue working for a business they learned is involved in community outreach efforts, according to the Cone report. Nearly 70% of millennial respondents also said they were keenly aware of their current employer’s commitment to social causes.

Companies are well aware of how important it is to effectively recruit millennials, a group that the Brookings Institute estimates will account for as much as 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2025. Yet there are plenty of other benefits that arise from a renewed commitment to social issues, as underserved communities gain access to badly needed resources that can help fight poverty, crime, and unemployment.

We’ve assembled a list of companies that are leading this movement by offering their employees innovative perks and benefits and encouraging them to volunteer and get involved in charitable organizations.

1. General Electric: The U.S. manufacturing giant is renowned for its great culture and the innovative products it designs and builds. The Connecticut-based company also matches its employees’ charitable donations to eligible philanthropic organizations up to $50,000 each year through its GE Foundation program.

2. Johnson & Johnson: Headed by military veteran Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson is committed to social engagement in a variety of ways. It has donated nearly $1 billion in cash and products to charitable causes and it double-matches employees’ charitable contributions, while making 1:1 matches for retirees. The company also donates $250 to any organization that its employees have volunteered at for at least 40 hours.

3. U.S. Bank: The financial giant has a special program devoted to encouraging employees to volunteer. The bank also provides employees 16 hours of paid time off every year to volunteer. These sorts of efforts are paying off: In 2013, U.S. bank estimates its 60,000 employees donated roughly 260,000 hours of their to charitable causes.

4. Intuit: The Mountain View, California-based technology company matches its employees’ charitable donations and offers them paid time off so they can volunteer. The company has long been committed to social causes, having developed in 1993 its “We Care & Give Back” program, which “addresses social issues as a way to advance economic empowerment.”

5. Toms: There’s a lot more to love about this company besides its great clothing and accessories. Toms donates shoes and water supplies to underserved communities across the globe. It also provides eye care services in 13 countries. Its employees are enthusiastically involved in the company’s philanthropic endeavors, leading trips that deliver these badly needed goods and services.

6. LinkedIn: Everyone’s favorite professional network has an entire unit devoted to advancing charitable causes, the LinkedIn for Good campaign, which aims to “connect our employees and members with opportunities to use their skills to make a positive impact on the world.” It also helps nonprofits recruit talent, awards grants to employee-nominated organizations, and bestows “Transformation Grants” on employees seeking to effect change in their communities.