I am honored to be speaking on December 5th at the Staffing Management Association on this topic.  Corporate social responsibility is the generic term that refers to what would typically be considered philanthropic efforts by organizations (including for profit, non for profit, and public sector).  These efforts are meant to serve the greater good or the community in which they serve.  They may provide funds, sponsor activities, provide volunteers, or in-kind services.  It’s good for society… and yes, it’s good for business. 

With the holidays just around the corner, many of us find ourselves in a giving spirit.  At Starbucks this morning, they asked me if I’d like to have my venti non-fat chai for free if I’d purchase a pound of coffee to send to our troops overseas.  Never mind the chai was $4 and the coffee was $10.25.  Of course I would!  I gladly spent the few extra dollars to support our troops.  At the grocery store, I spent an extra $1 to give to breast cancer awareness last month.  I give of my time, my money.  I clean out my closets and purchase an extra can of food for the drive. 

Okay, so maybe I’m a bit overzealous, however, I feel good about it.  I’m not alone.  26% of adults volunteer their time.  Many, many more give either money or resources to great local causes.  And time and time again, consumers are showing that they’ll spend just a few more dollars to buy from an organization that supports these types of efforts.

The same holds true for our workforce.  Employees like to be associated with a company that they can feel good about.  That’s the simple message here… building a company and an employment brand for which the employees can be proud. Employment brand is not a new concept, but its importance has become more pronounced as companies are seeking to be more effective with their recruitment and retention of quality talent.  And it’s that quality talent that helps an organization compete in both good times and even more so in difficult times.  According to a survey by GlobeScan, 77% of North American students would not even apply to a company that they deemed socially irresponsible.  68% disagreed that salary was more important than social responsibility.

Social initiatives come in many forms.  Nationally, Google, the #1 employer on 2008 Fortune’s Best Places to Work list, speaks about their green initiatives.  Locally, I perused around the Jobing site and found companies doing the right thing and being proud… Arizona State Credit Union has Community Service in listed in their core values.  St. Joseph’s Hospital is all about the spirit of caring and they were listed the #1 best place to work in Arizona.  Personally, I’ve considered my work experience at Jobing.com a privilege.  The company has always supported Community.  Giving back while growing the business.  I’m an admitted optimist… Positive energy creates more positive energy.  

Vicki Steere is the Executive Director of the Jobing Foundation, and is committed to helping prepare both the current and future workforce for the needs of business.  One program of the Jobing Foundation is Experience Your Future Day.  7500 8th grade students will visit Experience Your Future Day on Thursday, April 30, 2009 at the University of Phoenix Stadium to meet local employers and learn what it’s really like to work in those industries and professions.  The event is open to employers and educators in all industries.