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Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate Social Responsibility, which encompasses all of the initiatives businesses participate in to make a positive impact on the communities around them, has been a part of the workplace for a long time.

Whether it’s the donation of ones time or money, giving back supports causes on a global scale (think foreign aid donations, clothing/food/supply donations in the wake of natural disasters, or volunteer work) or on a local scale (such as donating food to a food bank, volunteering to help students after school, or supporting animal shelters). The energy put into helping one’s community to improve quality of life for one another not only positively impacts those to whom we give to, it positively impacts those who do the giving, too.

Companies like Google, Lego, Intel and Microsoft are amongst some of the leading companies fully embracing social responsibility. According to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for theYear 2018giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 5.4% in 2018 from the year prior, totaling $20.05 billion.

That same report also uncovered that foundations and corporate giving programs accounted for a majority of donations, highlighting how important the act of giving to important causes, really is. Charity is meant to be done for public benefit, relief and to provide assistance to people at times of need in any part of the world, helping to foster a better quality of life for humans and animals alike In 2018, substantial growth was seen in giving to international affairs and environmental / animal organizations.

Philanthropy’s Impact on Employees:

Donating, both through time (volunteering) or money, can actually make your people feel good and happy. The act of helping others triggers a release of a chemical that boosts ones mood and counteracts the effects of the stress hormone. When that good mood hormone is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine (aka the happy chemicals)! Long story short, helping others helps your employees in the following ways:

  1. Greater sense of connection to colleagues and to their company
  2. An increased sense of pride and ownership
  3. Better mood & more feelings of happiness
  4. Improved sense of wellbeing

Philanthropy’s Impact on Business:

1. Increase employee engagement and productivity: Philanthropy programs that involve employees foster stronger employee connections to one another and their company. The personal impacts that giving has on individuals translate into their work, which can increase employee engagement and thus productivity.

2. Improve company culture: According to a Deloitte study on volunteering, Millennials reported being “twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive” if their company participated in workplace volunteer activities.

3. Attract top talent: As the lines between personal life and work continue to blur, employees are looking for employers who not only offer them a pay check and benefits, but those who also support their passions, charitable giving included. While Millenials are a main proponent of this, other generations agree. According to Givinga, 78% of employees want to be an active participant in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, 58% consider CSR commitments when deciding to join a company and 51% will not work for a company that doesn’t have a strong CSR commitment.

4. Increase sales: Charitable giving or volunteering can improve brand awareness and attract new customers who associate your company/brand with positive social responsibility.  This can be done by marketing your giving initiatives to the public. When weighing between two similar services or brands, consumers are likely to choose that which supports important causes.

5. Receive tax deductions:  Donating to charity provides companies with financial gain. While this shouldn’t be a sole reason to put CSR initiatives in place, it is a benefit. Tax deductions from charitable giving can be received. Just be sure to consult with a finance professional to ensure compliance with all tax requirements.

Behind the Benefits: The 2020 Vision of What Employers Really Want

What your employees want from their benefits program may actually be different than what you think they want.  In mid-2019 we embarked on a journey to find the answers through a dual survey (one with employers and one with employees) with well over 250 companies in the NYC metro and SF Bay areas. 

The time to update your benefits offerings is not after your top performing employees have left for more generous opportunities. Staying ahead of the trends allows employers to attract and retain their top talent and avoid costly onboarding and training expenses.

Here’s What We Found:

The members we surveyed fell into one of three generational cohorts: Baby Boomers (ages 55-73), Generation X (ages 39-54), and Millennials (ages 23-39). Understanding the upbringing, current standing, and values of each of these generations is key to understanding what they are looking to get out of life and a career.

Generation B: Baby Boomers – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1946 – 1964

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – I could work my way to the top!
  • Training – Tell me what to do.
  • Elder Respect – Automatic.
  • Change – Dislike.
  • Communication – Land line.
  • Tech – Ignorant.
  • Government – They aren’t trusting.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.5 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Medical Health Insurance
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 50% Conferences & Professional Development
    • 50% Unlimited Time Off
    • 25% Financial Planning Services

Generation X – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1965 – 1980

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – I’ll work if I have to.
  • Training –  Show me HOW to do it.
  • Elder Respect – Polite.
  • Change – Accepting.
  • Communication – Cell phone.
  • Tech – Comfortable.
  • Government – They are skeptical.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.3 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Medical Health Insurance
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 53% Unlimited Time Off
    • 46% Tuition Reimbursement, Conferences or Professional Development.
    • 40% Childcare services.

Generation Y – Millennials – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1980-1996

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – Jobs are a dime a dozen.
  • Training –  WHY do I need to learn this?
  • Elder Respect – Must be earned.
  • Change – Demand it!
  • Communication – Text/Tweet.
  • Tech – Masters.
  • Government – They are distrusting.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.4 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Flex time / Paid time off
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 45% Unlimited time off.
    • 45% College loan repayment.
    • 35% Tuition Reimbursement or Continuing Education.

EMPLOYEE vs. EMPLOYER

Employee – +50% of the three generations top desired benefit is Unlimited Paid Time Off

vs.

Employer – Less than 1% plan on offering Unlimited Paid Time Off as a benefit in the next year

__________

Employee – 40% of Gen X want Childcare as a benefits

vs.

Employer – Only 3% of employers offer Childcare as a benefit

__________

Employee – 45% of Millennials want College Loan Repayment as a benefit

vs.

Employer – Only 14% of employers offer College Loan Repayment as a benefit

__________

Employee – 25% of Baby Boomers want Financial Planning Services as a benefit

vs.

Employer – 22% of employers offer Financial Planning Services

Benefits trends are constantly evolving, and it is apparent that the most successful companies are forward thinking when it comes to their offerings and improving employee satisfaction. Formulating a benefits program that appeals to a diverse audience and provides incentive to complete quality work can give any business a competitive edge. In addition, the investment in your employees can reduce turnover and as a result, reduce onboarding expenses that can ultimately be more expensive than a benefits package.

As a new generation enters the workforce, it’s impossible to anticipate the new expectations they will create and set in their work environments. No matter what new insights and ideas they bring to the HR landscape, by understanding historical trends, employers can anticipate continued change in employee expectations surrounding technology, social norms, and innovation.

To read the complete report on the findings from our survey please click here.

Behind the Benefits: The 2020 Vision of What Employees Really Want

What your employees want from their benefits program may actually be different than what you think they want.  In mid-2019 we embarked on a journey to find the answers through a dual survey (one with employers and one with employees) with well over 250 companies in the NYC metro and SF Bay areas. 

The time to update your benefits offerings is not after your top performing employees have left for more generous opportunities. Staying ahead of the trends allows employers to attract and retain their top talent and avoid costly onboarding and training expenses.

Here’s What We Found:

The members we surveyed fell into one of three generational cohorts: Baby Boomers (ages 55-73), Generation X (ages 39-54), and Millennials (ages 23-39). Understanding the upbringing, current standing, and values of each of these generations is key to understanding what they are looking to get out of life and a career.

Generation B: Baby Boomers – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1946 – 1964

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – I could work my way to the top!
  • Training – Tell me what to do.
  • Elder Respect – Automatic.
  • Change – Dislike.
  • Communication – Land line.
  • Tech – Ignorant.
  • Government – They aren’t trusting.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.5 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Medical Health Insurance
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 50% Conferences & Professional Development
    • 50% Unlimited Time Off
    • 25% Financial Planning Services

Generation X – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1965 – 1980

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – I’ll work if I have to.
  • Training –  Show me HOW to do it.
  • Elder Respect – Polite.
  • Change – Accepting.
  • Communication – Cell phone.
  • Tech – Comfortable.
  • Government – They are skeptical.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.3 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Medical Health Insurance
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 53% Unlimited Time Off
    • 46% Tuition Reimbursement, Conferences or Professional Development.
    • 40% Childcare services.

Generation Y – Millennials – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1980-1996

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – Jobs are a dime a dozen.
  • Training –  WHY do I need to learn this?
  • Elder Respect – Must be earned.
  • Change – Demand it!
  • Communication – Text/Tweet.
  • Tech – Masters.
  • Government – They are distrusting.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.4 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Flex time / Paid time off
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 45% Unlimited time off.
    • 45% College loan repayment.
    • 35% Tuition Reimbursement or Continuing Education.

EMPLOYEE vs. EMPLOYER

Employee – +50% of the three generations top desired benefit is Unlimited Paid Time Off

vs.

Employer – Less than 1% plan on offering Unlimited Paid Time Off as a benefit in the next year

__________

Employee – 40% of Gen X want Childcare as a benefits

vs.

Employer – Only 3% of employers offer Childcare as a benefit

__________

Employee – 45% of Millennials want College Loan Repayment as a benefit

vs.

Employer – Only 14% of employers offer College Loan Repayment as a benefit

__________

Employee – 25% of Baby Boomers want Financial Planning Services as a benefit

vs.

Employer – 22% of employers offer Financial Planning Services

Benefits trends are constantly evolving, and it is apparent that the most successful companies are forward thinking when it comes to their offerings and improving employee satisfaction. Formulating a benefits program that appeals to a diverse audience and provides incentive to complete quality work can give any business a competitive edge. In addition, the investment in your employees can reduce turnover and as a result, reduce onboarding expenses that can ultimately be more expensive than a benefits package.

As a new generation enters the workforce, it’s impossible to anticipate the new expectations they will create and set in their work environments. No matter what new insights and ideas they bring to the HR landscape, by understanding historical trends, employers can anticipate continued change in employee expectations surrounding technology, social norms, and innovation.

To read the complete report on the findings from our survey please click here.

Involving Employees in Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s hard to believe its the middle of October and that Fall is in full swing! Somewhere between all of the rustic autumn decor, you’ve probably began to notice a lot of pink as well. Pink ribbons, merchandise, professional and college athletic teams sporting pink uniforms, fundraisers and more, all in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the American Cancer Society, aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. The chances of a woman developing breast cancer in her lifetime are 1 in 8, and there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Although women are approximately 100 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, it is also possible for men to become afflicted by it.

As a breast cancer survivor and in honor of all those affected by the disease, patients and family, we’re paying it forward by shedding light on how you can get your employees involved in raising awareness for this all too common disease. If you’re not convinced this is worth your time to pursue, consider this: Have you, your employees or their families been impacted by breast cancer? If the answer is yes, this is a cause that is worthy of your attention this month (and always).

You have the power to impact this cause and influence your employees in a positive way by getting involved in breast cancer awareness initiatives. It can be surprisingly simple to do. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Form a company sponsored team to participate in Relay for Life, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, or other breast cancer awareness events. It’s a fun way to get your employees working together on something that can also improve their morale. You can begin a celebratory countdown to your event by holding meetings to recruit participants, devise fundraising strategies and train together.
  2. Bring a breast cancer awareness wreath into the office and display it proudly in a visible area for customers, vendors and employees to see. Invite everyone to tie one pink ribbon onto it in honor of someone they know who has been touched by the disease.
  3. Coordinate a jeans or t-shirt day for your employees. In exchange for a monetary donation to a cancer organization of your choice, let them enjoy a day of casual dress at the office.
  4. Coordinate your own breast cancer awareness day at the office. Ask everyone to wear pink, buy some products for your employees to enjoy that donate money to the cause and set out a donation jar. If you walk through just about every major retail or grocery store, you’ll see countless pink labeled items for sale.
  5. Have a baked goods sale at the office and encourage everyone to participate by bringing homemade or store bought pink goodies like decorated cookies, cupcakes or brownies. Donate all proceeds to a cancer research organization or treatment center in your area.
  6. Encourage some friendly and fun interdepartmental competition at your organization by inviting departments to decorate their space in pink-themed décor. Of course, you can encourage their involvement by offering some fun prizes for grand prize and runner up winning teams. Recognize them with a picture in the company newsletter or show your customers about your commitment to helping a great cause by including it in your website photo gallery or social media communication.

Every action you take to raise awareness about this disease will make you an instrument of positive change. Take a few moments to find a way to spread a positive message of hope to your employees, customers, vendors and community members who have been or will be impacted by breast cancer. Your simple action will help to carry on the fight for a cure.

Empowering Employees Through Financial Wellness

When you think of employee wellness, what comes to mind? It could be reduced medical claims, offering weight loss workshops, hosting massage days, or providing mental health counseling. What about retirement planning, or money management resources? Do you believe that the financial health of your employees can impact your company’s bottom line?

Wellness (wellbeing) is influenced by a variety of interacting factors that work together to positively or negatively impact health, beyond physical , mental & emotional wellness and financial wellness matters.

The financial wellness of your employees can impact your company’s bottom line, but how are the two related? Poor financial wellness can lead to increased employee stress. When individuals are struggling to pay their bills, whether medical bills, credit card debt, student loans or providing financial support for parents, fear, anxiety and depression can ensue.

With worrying about paying bills now, and stressing about how to save for retirement, stress in the workplace can result in reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, increased risk of both physical and mental health issues (leading to increased healthcare costs) and even prolonged retirement.

According to PwC’s 8th annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, PwC US, 2019, more than half (59%) of surveyed employees ages 18-75, reported that their financial situation was their leading cause of stress while other respondents admitted that their main sources of stress were jobs (15%), relationships (12%), health concerns (10%) and other matters (4%).

While there are many ways to define “financial wellness” and it looks different to everyone, we think the best way to put it is this: financial wellness is the sense of security and a feeling that one has enough money to meet their needs, that they are in control of their day-to-day finances and they have the financial freedom to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.  In that same PwC survey, regardless of generation (Millenial, Gen X & Baby Boomer), the top response when asked what financial wellness meant to them was “not being stressed about [my] finances”. Although financial wellness can be achieved through appropriate budgeting, saving, and “living within one’s means”, there are several factors that influence financial wellness that are often times unexpected, and so keeping up with financial responsibilities is extremely important. We believe that employers can help empower their employees by providing education and access to financial tools and resources.

Some key findings from the survey:

  • Nearly two-thirds of Millennials feel they are doing worse financially as compared to their parents.
  • 65% percent of employees are currently saving for retirement: 57% of Millennials, 70% of Gen X, and 77% of Baby Boomers.
  • Almost one-third of employees are not currently saving for retirement with reasons including having too many other expenses (78%) and debt to pay off (50%).
  • Only 38% of women have examined whether they’re on track to meet their retirement goals versus 52% of men.
  • More than one quarter (27%) of all employees have already withdrawn money held in retirement plans to pay for expenses other than retirement and nearly half (49%) think it’s likely they’ll need to use money held in retirement plans for expenses other than retirement.
  • 40% of all employees plan to retire later than they previously planned

Financial Wellness Resources:

About one-quarter of employees report that their employer offer third party assistance with personal finances and more than two-thirds (71%) say they’ve used those services (PwC’s 8th annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, PwC US, 2019). Below are two financial education programs we thought might be of interest to you to educate and empower your employees to take control of their finances:

The Fiscal Femme: Through the new business to business offering, provide employees with financial resources they can navigate at their own pace. Starting with an annual kick-off workshop, every employee will receive a copy of Ashley Feinstein Gerstley’s book “ The 30 Day Money Cleanse”  and access to online video classes, excel tools and workbooks to help employees create a spending plan, tackle debt, learn about investing and what it means to participate in “financial adulting”.

Financial Gym: Through their strategic partnership program, the Financial Gym can provide on-site or webinar training and classes for your employees as well as offer discounted planning and services that cover topics from goal setting, debt repayment, retirement planning and investment education, to travel hacking, budgeting and saving.