The Business of Giving Back: Empowering Employees

Through corporate social responsibility (CSR), companies can motivate, inspire, and give employees a deeper sense of purpose. Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc. (JA) partners are experts at employee engagement in the community. Here’s what a few of them do to make it possible:

Support the causes employees care about­

Envestnet took its philanthropy to the next level when it created Envestnet Cares, an employee-led CSR program.

“Each office gets to kind of run themselves, which makes the Envestnet Cares committee very valuable,” says Liz Gertz, chair of the Denver office committee. “That’s one of the things I love – we don’t have barriers to helping people who need help. We get some guidance, but we get all of the opportunities to find organizations that we want to support, and then we ask for the budget to do it.”

Gertz and her team gather feedback from their coworkers and plan two community service events per month. Together they’ve cleaned up trails, donated blood, sorted food at the food bank, and volunteered with JA, leading activities at JA in a Day, JA Finance Park, presented by Transamerica, and JA Stock Market Challenge, presented by Wells Fargo, just to name a few.

“I personally feel like what we choose to do with our time is important, so I see my work and my job as more than just a paycheck. Envestnet Cares is in alignment with my personal values, and establishing these committees has made corporate social responsibility more present,” says Gertz.

Offer incentives

Volunteer with students at JA Stock Market Challenge
Rocky Canyon High School students learned about the stock market, thanks to JA volunteers from companies like Envestnet

Sometimes it’s tough to spend a day out of the office or set aside money for charitable causes, but companies can provide extra motivation through gift matching programs and paid volunteer time off (VTO) – a growing trend, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Many JA corporate sponsors make these incentives a priority. For instance, Envestnet employees have two days per year dedicated to VTO, and Envestnet Cares committees help them find exciting nonprofits to work with. Janus Henderson gives a dollar for dollar match up to $2,500 to most charitable organizations, and they have eight hours of VTO on top of team volunteer events. When it comes to VTO at Moss Adams, Michael Carmosino says, “It’s just a part of our culture. We have a longstanding relationship with JA and believe strongly in what JA does. We want to people to have the ability to go do something that gives them a good feeling. It’s not just about what we do as accountants…there’s more to being a part of Moss Adams. It’s something bigger.”  

Find several avenues to get involved

The Moss Adams team at JA Stock Market Challenge: Corporate Event, presented by Wells Fargo

“The nice thing about the JA partnership is that people want to be hands-on,” Carmosino says. “Employees can go straight to the [JA] classroom and get a feel for the tools we offer students and be a part of transferring knowledge. Then with the JA Stock Market Challenge, we’ve invited clients in the past too, which gives a new and different dynamic as well. JA Bowl-A-Thon is a lot more informal and fun, and as a team we can go together and bond just internally while doing something for a good organization.”

Offering choices helps employees feel empowered and excited, not only in what they to support, but how. Carmosino says, “Our company leverages each opportunity differently, and it gives everyone who wants to get involved the ability to do so.”

Ready to jump in? Submit a JA partner interest form today.