A Formula to Win Personally, Professionally, and Organizationally

Corporate Social Impact:
A Formula to Win Personally, Professionally, and Organizationally

Whether newer to the workforce or with 20 or more years’ of experience, so many of us are:

  1. Feeling the weight of burnout and disengagement,
  2. Yearning for more meaning and purpose beyond our work projects, and
  3. Wanting to make a difference in solving issues facing our world and those we care about.

Organizationally, many of us are also struggling to stand-out in the workplace, marketplace, and recruiting space.


Effective corporate social impact is a strategy that works on many fronts.

Corporate social impact initiatives done well allow us to leverage our work skills and our careers to accomplish so much more personally and professionally, and furthers our connection (and loyalty) to the organizations that make it possible.

Work and impact does not need to be an “either-or”!


“Corporate social impact done well and strategically is a catalyst for personal, professional, and organizational growth, engagement, and improved branding.”

-Peter C. Atherton


Corporate social impact (often used synonymously with “corporate social responsibility” or “corporate responsibility”) is generally defined as organizations taking action to “do good” and “make a difference” within environmental, social, and ethical governance domains, while being responsive to the need to successfully operate and create high value and profit business-wise for the benefit of customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

Corporate social impact can and should be customized to meet an organization’s specific internal and external goals.  Your corporate social impact is the vehicle to leverage the skills, talents, assets, gifts, experiences, and resources of your organization, employees, and even other stakeholders toward the constituents and communities you desire to be associated with.


Corporate social impact that differentiates and attracts is no longer just about writing a check!

Well-designed corporate social impact programs have the intended benefit of enhancing your organization’s culture while meeting actual community needs.

Such programs can also restore lost efficacy and offer participants personal and professional growth opportunities, as well as new connections outside of our typical product and service offerings.

When continued, these designed programs can boost our brand presence, build equity, and increase both actual and perceived value.


Based on a recent study of Fortune 500 companies by Deloitte, organizations typically fall into one of four social impact archetypes:

“Shareholder Maximizers” focus on generating returns and represented only 11% of the companies studied.

Corporate Contributors” generally have programs or initiatives developed in response to external customer or internal employee desires with the goal to primarily mitigate risk.  In this setting, external contributions are often centralized and limited in terms of choice. They can also take the form of more siloed and disparate financial donations or volunteer efforts within the organizations. 53% of the companies studied fell into this archetype.

Impact Integrators” are more internally motivated to achieve some sort of an external mission through the integration of business strategy and human capital, and worked across business units. In professional settings, integrating impact could involve designing staff engagement, development, and pro-bono activities more strategically and in ways that resonate both internally and externally.  This archetype represented a growing 33% of companies.

Social Innovators” are more of the true social enterprises where the core mission is the business. Examples of these types of companies with which many of us may be familiar include Patagonia®, which has a mission to “…cause no unnecessary harm” and “use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”, as well as TOMS® Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes for a child in need for every pair purchased.  3% of the companies fell into this newest archetype.


“For most organizations today, the opportunity to immediately begin to inspire others and differentiate in the marketplace lies with being more strategic and purposeful as a “corporate contributor” or moving toward becoming an “impact integrator.”

-Peter C. Atherton


Organizational leaders can perform corporate social impact planning and design as a standalone initiative or as an enhancement to more conventional strategic planning efforts, which most often fall short in establishing the type of employee engagement that matters most and drives growth.

Organizations who don’t take the initiative to create conditions that attract and retain top talent run the risk of losing talent to more forward-thinking competitors, the fast-growing freelance economy, or to a new side-hustle (a venture outside of our full-time job that aligns with our interests and passions).

Organizations will also be less able to stand-out against competition in the marketplace and win over top prospects in the recruiting space who are more and more demanding a level of corporate involvement beyond the work we are paid to do.

Today, and especially with and post-COVID-19, mission matters and impact wins.

To your winning,

PS – Ready to enhance your employee engagement and simultaneously increase your corporate impact by design?  Check out our 60 to 90-day Fast Start Program.

PSS – Click HERE… and then just sit back and listen to one of the most important chapters in “Reversing Burnout” for FREE.  Learn more about the realities of work and life today and how you can prevent and reverse the “Burnout-Disengagement Cycle” for you and your organization.

 

 

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Pete Atherton

About the Author

Peter C. Atherton, P.E. is an AEC industry insider with 29 years of experience, having spent more than 24 as a successful professional civil engineer, principal, major owner, and member of the board of directors for high-achieving firms.  Pete is now the President and Founder of ActionsProve, LLC, author of “Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners”, and the creator of the I.M.P.A.C.T. process.  

Pete is also the host of The AEC Leadership Today Podcast and leads The AEC Leadership Mastermind

Pete works with AEC firms to grow and advance their success through modern and new era focused strategic planning, executive coaching, leadership and management development, performance-based employee engagement, and corporate impact design. Connect with him through the contact link below.

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Corporate Social Impact: A Formula to Win Personally, Professionally, and Organizationally