2021 was yet another year full of uncertainty in the workplace – new COVID-19 variants, vaccine mandates, expected returns to the office (then for many not returning to the office). We can be sure that COVID-19 will continue to cause uncertainty in 2022, so let’s do what we can to plan ahead.

Global Impact recently attended and sponsored the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP) conference. It was a great opportunity to hear from a variety of experts about key trends in the workplace. Here are our team’s biggest takeaways – and how we can help you improve your strategies:

  1. It’s no longer optional: Creating a more equitable workplace is a must.
    Companies are striving to ensure their staff are representative of the communities where they live, work and serve. For those who haven’t achieved this yet, it is recommended to set aggressive targets but be sure that changes aren’t just cosmetic. Organizations are being thoughtful and taking time to learn what they don’t know. Check out our guide on support for employee resource groups. An overwhelming majority of consumers believe it is ok if a company isn’t perfect—they simply want transparency on goals and achievements. So, be sure to keep the public informed along the way.

    You can also strive to ensure that your employee engagement and giving programs are diverse and inclusive by offering a wide array of charity choices including international organizations. (Check out 100 of our favorite global charities!)

  2. Disaster relief becomes hands-on.
    It isn’t enough to simply send a check and publish a press release any longer. Companies are diving deeper into their emergency response strategies. They are first examining their own attributes to see if the company can help directly through supporting logistics or shifting product production to make an item needed during a disaster.

    Next, they are preparing in advance. They are determining which regions of the world are most at risk for disaster and where they may have employees or business interests. Then, they are really drilling down into the core needs of each specific community. The next step is to predetermine nonprofits best positioned to assist when disaster does strike. From there the nonprofit partner can help determine what the community needs— from funding and support to supplies. This work also now runs through an equity lens, as companies are beginning to ensure their efforts are more comprehensive and far-reaching.

    This well-planned response strategy can have a huge impact on affected communities and be a driver of a positive reputation for your organization. Global Impact’s corporate grant-making services include identifying and vetting domestic and international grantees, distribution and reporting. In 2020, we distributed $51 million to charitable entities in 57 different countries. With Global Impact’s alliance of 100 international nonprofits, including many top disaster relief organizations, we are well equipped to help you put a process in place.

  3. Corporate purpose programs are more important than ever. 
    From potential employees who state they won’t take a job if the company doesn’t have a strong CSR program, to consumers who demand that companies give back, now is the time to ramp up your organization’s CSR efforts. Benevity is reporting that many companies are already doing this – they are seeing an increased investment in corporate purpose programs. Some are taking it a step further and thinking about how they can connect with their customers and communities more meaningfully, for example creating customer giving opportunities.

    This is the year to build on your giving programs, start a new CSR initiative or launch new engagement initiatives. Consider where your organization is in this process. Are you already making the case for greater investment in these areas? Or do you already have the investment and are looking to determine execution? In either of these scenarios, Global Impact can help support you through the process of strengthening your CSR programs and initiatives.

  4. Volunteering and employee engagement remain an essential part of your program.
    Research has long shown that employees are happier at work when they are engaged, and they retain a more positive view of their employer when they are provided with an opportunity to give back. We also know that employee volunteer opportunities are critical in attracting key talent. Two of the biggest challenges we frequently hear include gaining visibility and broad support across departments to support these initiatives and achieving participation levels across the enterprise. At your organization, do the same people open your emails and complete all the volunteer projects? A successful program will break down these walls and engage all departments and employees. Taking into account the unique skills sets of each department can be one effective way to tailor your outreach and engage a wider variety of employees across the company.

    Engagement activities of all sizes can be meaningful and powerful if done well. Given the impacts of COVID-19 on remote work, virtual volunteer opportunities have exploded in popularity. This opens the door for teams across the country, and even around the world, to experience an engagement opportunity together. Check out our Employee Giving Hub for some ideas to get started.

Now is the time to make your plan for 2022. With the pandemic here to stay, building flexibility, experiences and inclusivity in your work will help you navigate the year ahead and ensure success. Reach out to us to get ideas, tips and resources. We are here to help!