Irene Rosenfeld, the now-retired chairwoman of food company Mondelēz International, once said, “Our business success is directly linked to enhancing the well-being of the people who make and enjoy our products and to supporting the communities where we grow our ingredients.” Regardless of what kind of business you are in, Rosenfeld’s sentiment likely goes a long way toward describing a key ingredient of your organization’s success as well.
Supporting our communities is the right thing to do for many reasons, but two rise to the top.
The first is that clients, associates (employees) and prospects care about corporate responsibility. In the hearts and minds of a growing number of those we are trying to retain and attract to our companies, a potential employer’s pursuing purpose in addition to profit is more than an interest – it is an expectation. That’s particularly true among Millennials, who already represent more than a third of the U.S. workforce. The America’s Charities Snapshot Research Series study “2019 Charitable Giving Trends” found that 71% of employees said it’s imperative or very important to work at an organization with a culture that supports giving and volunteering.
The second is that financial institutions increasingly want to know what companies are doing in this area before they invest in them. According to the May 2019 article “Socially responsible investing movement is hot and there are no signs of it cooling off” published on www.cnbc.com, one out of four assets under management in the U.S. is invested in socially responsible ways.
Businesses supporting the communities in which their employees live and work gives outsiders insights into what makes an organization tick – what a company, and a group of people, believe in and are willing to devote their energy toward. That holds true whether it involves their money, their time or their careers.
Giving and volunteering is not only meaningful for the community. It’s also fun for all involved.
Australian actress Nicole Kidman once said, “I love acting, but it’s much more fun taking the kids to the zoo.” She raises an important point: Work can be fulfilling, but fun is important, too.
Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey indicated that a culture of volunteerism in the workplace may boost brand perception, morale and workplace atmosphere. And Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh put it well when he said, “Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than make money.”
Speaking of Australia, giving and fun, I was in Australia and the Philippines this past week as part of a trip to our Asia Pacific region. It’s on the other side of the world from Unisys headquarters in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. While the surroundings here are different, the people, not so much. People here – and all around the world – care about each other and their communities.
A great example is what our associates in Sydney and Rhodes recently did on behalf of Soldier On, whose mission is to support Australian veterans and their families by providing jobs. Participating Unisys associates donated a gold coin to be able to wear their favorite jersey or team colors to the Rhodes office, with the proceeds going to Soldier On. This event followed a July barbecue, also held at our Rhodes office, at which we raised funds. More than 100 of our Australian associates participated in the two events, which not only enabled us to further our support of Soldier On but also highlight the veteran-friendly workplace we support in country (and in all countries in which we do business).
We’re excited to say there’s more to come.
Unisys has always supported these types of events. But we haven’t always taken the time to share this commitment with the outside world. Our new Unisys Cares web page aims to change that. The site highlights 17 of the many charitable organizations with which we have proudly partnered, including Soldier On. Over time we will expand upon that number.
I am especially proud to work for Unisys when I see us helping others around us. Giving back bonds us not just to these communities – but also to one another. In this way, we are more than colleagues. We are comrades, partners and friends, standing side by side to enhance people’s lives. In doing so, we are having fun together while making a difference in the world … and just when the world needs it the most.
That’s good business, no matter which one you’re in.