Are discussions on community engagement buzzing around your office or business meetings? If you have not yet sat down and had a serious talk on community engagement, maybe now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. When people say community engagement, they are referring to the process of an organization building ties with its community and implementing ongoing strategies that will benefit the community, the organization, and the relationship between the two. The question is, how does this benefit a company, and why has it become such a buzzing topic amongst corporate affairs practitioners?
How corporate affairs practitioners make the business case for community engagement
There are some obvious benefits of a company investing its time and resources in community engagement. This might include brand image and building community relationships. These are both crucial aspects of a larger corporate strategy, but maybe those two reasons are not enough to push the executive to waste his or her time on the matter. According to the Conference board, there are a number of other reasons community engagement has taken lift off into the world of corporate affairs.
1. Community engagement enhances employee engagement
Research shows that employees who participate in community engagement projects, adds a value of $2,400 to a company due to a decrease in turnover and an increase in employee engagement.
2. There is value to be found in skill-based volunteering
Skill-based volunteering directly provides communities with specialized support. A great example is Raytheon, a major US defense contractor. Approximately two thirds of the company is made up of engineers that volunteer their time in mentoring programs for youth interested in an engineering future.
3. Companies raise their voices to advance social change
A good pointer is to do what you or your company does best. A number of companies invest their resources on issues that are related to their own company and what their company does. This gives them the upper hand in sharing their specialty with their community.
4. Purpose is aligned with profit
According to Harvard Business school, companies with increased community engagement efforts, in the long term, significantly outperform their counterparts in both the stock market and accounting performance.
How to build a Community Engagement Strategy that fits your company
Know your company and community
What exactly is it that your company does, and what unique edge can they bring to their community? Just like Raytheon and the skills of their engineers, discover the talents of your employees and the voice of your overall brand. Then evaluate how this can be used to benefit your community.
Know what your goals are and what level of participation your company is aiming for
Identifying a solid purpose and goal helps to identify your company's engagement objective, as well as any anticipated outcomes. This will assist in determining the overall depth and scope of the engagement.
Research programs and make connections
Knowing what route to take can take some time and research. It is essential to understand who your company is internally and in the eyes of the public. Do your media research and find out what others are saying about your company. This way you can develop or engage in a program that may strengthen your weaknesses or further develop your strengths.
How organizations can prepare to respond to community expectations.
The community will have expectations for your company and its commitment to the cause. Make sure to listen to what is being said as well as prepare timely responses to any concerns the public may have. The key to reducing concerns of the public is to be as transparent as possible in your community engagement efforts. Tools such as
SophoTree gives real-time updates anytime your company is mentioned in the news. Simply use the alerts feature, and be notified immediately when people are talking about your company in the news or on Twitter.