Exploring Generosity in Business Operations

What Does Generosity Look Like in Business Operations?

Data confirms that generosity as a siloed charitable activity is no longer enough. Executives and employees agree that generosity includes business operations that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

Younger employees are more likely to think of generosity in business operations than other generations (an increase of 9 percentage points). In line with this, more than half (51%) of Gen Z employees say they have left a job because a company did not display generosity in its business operations.

We explored generosity in business operations by giving executives and employees a few concepts to consider. As a result, we learned what’s important to employees and what companies are currently incorporating.

Interestingly, when employees were asked about the importance of these aspects, the responses were similar to those we saw for employee care (82-95%).

What do Employees Find Most Important?

When asked to identify the most important way a company can be generous in its operations, employees resoundingly chose pay equity (41%), followed by positive culture (20%) and purpose (16%).

However, it’s worth noting that more than two out of three employees cited protection against child labor or human trafficking as very important. Also, more than half of employees said a diverse workplace is very important.

Where is There Alignment?

Company Culture: Everyone agrees on the importance of maintaining a positive company culture: 69% of employees say this is very important, and 90% of executives invest in this aspect. As a result, we offer additional data and specifics here: Company Culture: Moving from Good to Great.

Diverse Workplace: There is also alignment among employees (89%) and executives (80%) around the importance of a workforce that reflects different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view.

Considering recent headlines that businesses are steering away from DEI programs, this data suggests that people greatly value ensuring a wide range of perspectives are represented in the workplace.

In fact, there was a 12-point increase in the number of executives offering a workforce that reflects various backgrounds.

Pay Equity: In last year’s survey, 91% of employed adults ranked pay equity as their top demonstration of generosity to employees. This year, 93% say that pay equity (defined as equal pay regardless of gender, race, or orientation) is an important way to operate generously, with 74% saying this is very important.

This matches the 72% of executives who currently offer pay equity at their companies—this is a strong majority, but there is room to grow.

Purpose: Additionally, 92% of employees say that having a company purpose that includes making a positive impact on people and the planet is important. 70% of executives say they currently have this type of company purpose which meets or exceeds the need for the 53% of employees who consider this very important.

While executives may believe that some industries or business models are less suited for this type of purpose, a recent goBeyondProfit CEO Interview helps companies of all sizes and industries name a genuine purpose that motivates employees and helps drive greater loyalty and productivity.

Where is There Opportunity?

Sustainability Practices: As in years past, sustainability practices remain important to most employees (82%), with 40% saying they are very important. We defined sustainability practices as environmentally friendly programs, products, or services.

Given that only 31% of executives say they incorporate sustainability practices into their business, this continues to be a place of opportunity for businesses to elevate efforts within their office setting or business operations.

Protect Against Child Labor/Human Trafficking: Universally, employees named protection against human trafficking across the business and suppliers as a clear way companies can demonstrate generosity (93%), with 71% saying this is very important. Only 35% of executives say this protection currently exists in their company. While some companies may not have a clear implication in their business model, this high level of importance signals an opportunity: executives should consider ways to protect against trafficking not only in products produced but also among their suppliers, vendors, and partners.

For additional resources see “The reality of modern slavery and human trafficking cannot be ignored. How can your organization identify and manage these risks” Deloitte

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