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22 Jul. 2019 | Comments (0)

Companies are finding ways to be more strategic about developing the workforce of the future. For years we’ve known that employee engagement and developing leaders were critical aspects of workforce development but they are quickly becoming insufficient. The talent pool is increasingly looking for more than career development—they are looking for the companies they work for to generate sustainable societal impact. That’s one of the key findings of the 8th Global Pro Bono State of the Practice report, published by PYXERA Global in June, 2019.

Since 2010, the biennial Global Pro Bono State of the Practice has reported trends and best practices in Global Pro Bono, corporate-sponsored human capital initiatives aligned to a company’s broader strategy. The 2019 report draws on survey data from 26 companies, 63 percent of which belong to the Fortune Global 500. The report provides a snapshot of the current state of the practice of Global Pro Bono and a look at top trends to guide companies seeking to initiate or expand their programming. With survey data extending back to 2008, the longevity of this initiative by PYXERA Global provides a robust understanding of the practice as it grows and evolves.

Here are the five key reasons companies are investing in Global Pro Bono.

  1. Experiential learning is in demand Since 2008, the practice of Global Pro Bono has continued to grow. Both the number of participants and the number of countries have increased, indicating broad and expanding appeal. As the need to maintain high levels of employee engagement, develop the next generation of leaders, and retain employees increase, the need to provide opportunities for training and development outside of an employee’s normal job description are critical. Once the domain of only the largest companies, the practice is now available to companies of all sizes through multi-company programs, such as the Corporate Champions for Education that brings world-class workforce development and social impact together.
  2. Companies are urged to generate social impact For the first time, the motivation to generate sustainable social impact has surpassed leadership skills development and increased employee engagement as the top reason to invest in Global Pro Bono. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey, 86 percent of millennials, who represent the biggest global generation, believe financial performance should not be the sole measure of business success. Leading companies are now more deliberately leveraging leadership and employee engagement to generate sustainable social good. It’s an answer to the question, “How does business shift to meet the changing demands of investors, employees, customers, and communities to meet business and social standards?”
  3. All aspects of the business are aligning Companies report an increasing alignment between their Global Pro Bono programs and their overall corporate strategies. Eighty-five percent of companies now report their Global Pro Bono programs align with their social impact strategy, and 70 percent report aligning directly with specific business strategies. The trend highlights the interest in sustainable social good as a key deliverable from companies also well known for delivering financial performance to their shareholders. This finding is consistent with other reports that have highlighted the influence of financial executives like Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, who have encouraged companies to pay attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indicators, as well as financials, to inform long-term business strategy.
  4. It’s a powerful tool for internal collaboration Global Pro Bono serves as a way to accelerate and amplify business’ sustainable social impact outside the company. It also serves as a powerful mechanism for slicing through silos and providing diverse departments, such as corporate citizenship and human resources, as well as business units, a tangible program around which to unify and give employees a clear line of sight to the company’s business and social goals. The effect not only illustrates a company’s purpose, but also empowers employees to embody that purpose as they contribute solutions for society’s most pressing problems.
  5. It’s a mechanism for measuring a company’s impact on social issues material to the business Since 2013, the number of companies conducting social impact measurement has increased by 33 percent, while business impact measurement increased 14 percent. More companies want the data not only to adapt programs for greater impact, but also to amplify the results to external and internal audiences. This trend indicates the importance, demand, and increasing sophistication of measurement of both business and social impact to continue directing resources toward the strategies that give multiple—and high—rates of return, like Global Pro Bono programs. 

Download a copy of the report for free. As these trends emerge, it’s certain that companies will continue investing in human capital initiatives to meet the challenges of the future and generate demonstrable positive social impact. The needs of employees, investors, and communities will continue to demand it.

  • About the Author:Gavin Cepelak

    Gavin Cepelak

    Gavin Cepelak is the Vice President of Global Pro Bono (GPB) at PYXERA Global where he leads teams in developing and overseeing the proper implementation of multiple corporate GPB programs throug…

    Full Bio | More from Gavin Cepelak


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