The business benefits of investing in your community

Many companies start investing in their communities because they feel it is the 'right thing to do' but they soon discover there are sound business reasons for doing it to.

Employees and future workforce

When companies effectively engage their staff with their investment in the community they experience broad reaching benefits from improved professional and personal skills (communication, leadership, problem solving) to HR related advantages such as diversity, recruitment, employee retention and absence management.

Over 75% of companies surveyed in BITC research cited increased employee motivation and morale as a key benefit of engagement in programmes to support disadvantaged people into employment.

Companies also report broader benefits relating to HR issues such as: access to talent; improved retention rates; increased employee diversity; reduced absenteeism; and improved internal relations.

 

Brand value and reputation

Companies that remain true to their values and act on them report positive public recognition from key stakeholders, media coverage, improved relationships with customers and suppliers.

Being seen as an employer that is not only helping address some of society’s most critical social issues but who is also enabling employees to play a role is of real importance to many businesses.

Achieving public recognition for these activities can enable companies to develop a point of difference over sector peers. It can also enable businesses to engage with the public sector and policy makers on an issue of great importance for UK society.

Key indicators of improved brand value and reputation can be seen in the form of: positive media coverage winning awards achieving public recognition.

 

Direct financial impact

There are financial gains associated with the HR benefits of well managed community investment including improved retention rates and reduced absenteeism.

Companies can also benefit from reduced training costs in situations when they use employees volunteering opportunities in lieu of more formalised employee training, or are using programmes such as Work Inclusion initiatives as an alternative, low cost, way of training potential new employees.

 

Organisational growth

Companies with strategic community investment take time to understand the needs of their commuities. This customer insight has led many companies to expand their markets, improve their products and meet changing customer expectations

Through developing commercially viable products and services that address community needs, many businesses have been able to enter a previously untapped markets.

Companies that can demonstrate strong values and commitment to their commuities are able to differentiate themselves in increasingly competitive markets.

Many companies also report that being able to demonstrate their commitment to local communities has improved their credentials when tendering for commercial contracts.

For example:

Lend Lease employees set up a dedicated not-for-profit company called BeOnsite in 2007. BeOnsite responds to community needs and builds local partnerships to provide people from excluded groups with industry relevant training and sustained employment in the property sector. As well as delivering other business benefits, BeOnsite has been a key factor in Lend Lease winning business. BeOnsite featured as a USP in virtually all Lend Lease‟s approximately 360 bLend Lease employees set up a dedicated not-for-profit company called BeOnsite in 2007. BeOnsite responds to community needs and builds local partnerships to provide people from excluded groups with industry relevant training and sustained employment in the property sector.

As well as delivering other business benefits, BeOnsite has been a key factor in Lend Lease winning business. BeOnsite featured as a USP in virtually all Lend Lease‟s approximately 360 bid documents submitted in 2010-2011. BeOnsite was integral in Lend Lease winning the £330 million Wandsworth Schools for the Future, one of the largest bids.