CEO James H. Quigley of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP outlined the business benefits of creating a culture of community service to an audience of corporate grant makers attending The Conference Board's Thirteenth Annual Corporate Community Involvement Conference.
Participating in a panel titled "Why the Company Cares," Quigley told the community involvement leaders, "A corporate culture that focuses on supporting the community reinforces company values; it is important to understand that it's not only the right thing to do, it's good for business and supports growth."
Commitment to the community provides key benefits, he said. "Community involvement, whether demonstrated by employee volunteerism, philanthropy or fundraising efforts, enables a company to have a meaningful impact on society, build business relationships, attract talent, improve employee retention, and provide skill-building and networking opportunities."
Quigley said, "We believe community involvement provides an opportunity to make a difference, connect with colleagues and forge new relationships."
He advised community involvement professionals, "Mobilize people inside your companies to champion the value of community involvement so you have an army behind you. Leadership will listen when you can demonstrate a groundswell of support for your programs."
Quigley also suggested that frequent employee communication is critical to success. "Find compelling ways to tell your community involvement story so that employees are excited and want to participate."
He further observed that active presence in the community acts as a magnet that attracts talent. Citing the 2002 Cone Corporate Citizenship Study, Quigley noted that 77 percent of respondents said a company's commitment to social issues is important in deciding where they will work.
"Our people expect the firm to be involved, and it's one of the reasons they stay. It's also an outstanding way to develop and build leadership skills," he said.
At Deloitte, strategic community involvement activities include its $1 million collaboration with Junior Achievement to produce "Excellence through Ethics," a business ethics curriculum that reaches more than 20,000 schools across the United States. More than 800 Deloitte employees volunteer in classrooms and 40 of them serve on Junior Achievement boards. Deloitte was presented with the US Chamber of Commerce Center for Corporate Citizenship's Citizenship in Action award in connection with the firm's decision to champion early ethics education.
In addition, on October 8, 2004, Deloitte will celebrate "IMPACT Day," an annual day of volunteer service. The nearly 30,000 Deloitte employees across the United States will be encouraged to set aside their work for the day to volunteer with non-profit organizations in their communities.