Remote workers are redefining how companies give. With a hybrid workforce, corporate philanthropy must listen to dispersed employees’ communities.
Today is the first day of your new job. You’re dressed for success with a notebook and pen in hand, ready to meet your coworkers.
But something feels unusual. Instead of walking into an office building downtown, you greet everyone on a video call from your home—in your slippers.
In a remote and hybrid working world, employees must adapt to new modes of virtual and in-person collaboration, while employers must adapt to new modes of managing their workforce. That also presents opportunities for an improved corporate philanthropy strategy informed by employees and nonprofits in their local communities.
A recent Harvard Business School Online survey reported 81% of respondents either do not want to go back to the office or prefer a hybrid schedule. This desire for flexibility can be an advantage for companies rethinking their philanthropy strategy to remain relevant in a world of more frequent natural disasters, renewed social justice movements, and geographically dispersed employees.
As Foundation Director at mid-sized tech company Businessolver, Carrie Clogg has had to make big shifts to her company’s philanthropy.
“With our workers being remote and volunteer opportunities being limited, we have to get creative in how we support our philanthropic partners,” Carrie said. “Orientating our current and new hires on the importance of giving back in our culture is the first step. We want to keep it in the front of our employees’ minds that we still are going to be stewards of community service.”
To adjust to the new normal, she’s shifted their focus to volunteering individually rather than in groups and made educational events virtual.
To revitalize your own philanthropy strategy, consider these three ways to leverage your company’s hybrid workforce:
1. Diversify your giving portfolio.
The first advantage of a hybrid workforce is it can expand the definition of local philanthropy to extend your company’s giving portfolio beyond your headquarters. Each town where your employees live, and now work, presents opportunities for new connections with local nonprofits to grow your network of trusted partners.
You can engage hybrid workers in donation decision-making by inviting them to refer local nonprofits to receive grants. By building on local expertise, you can better meet the needs of the communities and stay aligned with your company’s CSR goals.
2. Be more inclusive.
After you have gathered referrals from your employees, it may be necessary to review the nonprofits to ensure they fit well with your CSR strategy and there are no concerns about their reputation. Start with the values of trust-based philanthropy to listen actively to the nonprofits’ needs and collaborate openly with them. Then, try gathering input from your hybrid workforce to determine which organizations your employees trust and would like to support.
3. Increase employee satisfaction.
Retaining employees is tougher than ever, with more US workers quitting their jobs in April 2021 than any other time in the past two decades. Many professionals are frustrated by frequent changes in human resources guidance on working from home or returning to the office. Meanwhile, employers are adapting to the continued spread of COVID-19 across the world and trying to protect their workers. In these circumstances, it is important to listen to your employees to maintain morale while also staying nimble with your philanthropy strategy.
Consider new ways to incorporate purpose into the workplace, such as charitable gift cards that express thanks for your employees’ hard work and let them donate to a cause they care about with just the click of a button. Or offer opportunities for virtual skilled volunteering to put meaningful work with community-led nonprofits front and center.
As you settle into your new hybrid work environment and navigate its challenges, your philanthropy can provide a spark of joy during these uneasy times and show employees you care—no matter where they work.
Learn how GlobalGiving can help your company adapt to hybrid work in your corporate philanthropy.
Featured Photo: Build a Migrant Business School in Taiwan by One-Forty