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Defining and living a meaningful corporate citizenship strategy

When it comes to corporate citizenship, leaders around the country and across the globe are asking what it means and how will it impact their business. They want to know if the concept of corporate citizenship is simply another trending buzzword or if there is real meaning and depth to the idea.

Simply stated, a corporate citizenship strategy is a set of tactics that advances an organization’s overall business strategy. These tactics aren’t one size fits all; rather they are fluid, organic notions that create meaning and value for the communities and organizations they serve. Ultimately, it is the company make-up that drives an authentic corporate citizenship strategy. In these instances, the resources available to companies are most effectively leveraged by usage in different types of programs that play out in a variety of ways.

For Sedgwick, corporate citizenship goes beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and governance(ESG). CSR is reputational — focused on doing what is right, while ESG is focused solely on environmental, social and governance disciplines. CSR and ESG are limited based on previous connotations, whereas corporate citizenship touches on all aspects of the organization. Corporate citizenship blends CSR and ESG with:

  • The company’s core business strategies around colleague health and well-being
  • Client and consumer innovation to better meet needs
  • Diversity and inclusion to embrace the uniqueness of all colleagues
  • The overall colleague experience

Combined with CSR and ESG, diversity and inclusion (D&I) also plays a monumental role in corporate citizenship. It reflects who we are and the organizations and individuals we serve. In order for Sedgwick to deliver innovative, industry-leading solutions and take care of our customers, we must recruit, retain, develop the best and the brightest people from different backgrounds, generations and cultures. We must encourage uniqueness and ensure that our colleagues feel respected and understand their role in the success of their team and organization as a whole. As the workforce continues to change, it’s more important than ever to embrace the ideals of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Creating a successful corporate citizenship strategy

When building a strategy, an authentic corporate citizen must ensure that it aligns with the company’s purpose, values, culture and overall business strategy. When successful, this strategy will allow colleagues, clients, consumers and the community to provide a resounding positive response that the actions developed through the strategy are in line with what they have come to know. In the case of Sedgwick, it is our caring counts philosophy.

By anchoring Sedgwick’s corporate citizenship in our purpose, we are better equipped to utilize the company’s unique capabilities and global connections to serve our clients using our caring counts philosophy. We are also positioned to ensure that the experience of each colleague — whether new or long-term to Sedgwick — is more consistent. Industry research supports our claim and has found that corporate citizenship strategies:

  • Reinforce brand; deepen customer1and employee2 involvement
  • Address environmental and social issues that have the potential to disrupt business3
  • Assess the impact of gifts as they are closely related to the business experience4
  • Create reputational assets that contribute to intangible value to the firm5 while contributing to the common good6
  • Have philanthropic and volunteer initiatives viewed more credibly as an outcome of their connections to the company

In the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s 2015 Community Involvement Survey, more than 90% of companies that connected their corporate citizenship strategy to their business strategy reduced their employee healthcare costs, compared to the 30% of businesses that had not. Additionally, this survey found that 95% of businesses that connected their corporate citizenship strategy to their business strategy improved their risk management, compared to only 55% of those that had not. These findings show what is driving professionals to recognize that corporate citizenship actively contributes to the success of a community and company.7

The four Cs

This is why Sedgwick’s corporate citizenship strategy focuses on taking care of the four Cs: colleagues, communities, clients and consumers. We are learning that the more interdependent a corporate citizenship strategy, the less tension is created between business and society. The more logically connected our corporate citizenship priorities are to Sedgwick’s business strategy, the more authentic and credible our program will be perceived by stakeholders, namely, the four Cs. With a mutually reinforcing loop of interdependence between business and society, the world in which we want to live becomes more of a reality rather than a far-reaching ideal.

Culture is our organization’s compass. It guides our:

  • Belief system: Grounded in shared values and stories
  • Structure: Reinforced by an organization’s policies, processes and practices
  • Choices: Evident in thought processes and how we make decisions
  • Relationships: Visible in the interactions we have with each other and with our clients, consumers and the communities where we live and operate
  • Leadership: Demonstrated by the words and actions of leaders in an organization

This cultural compass has guided Sedgwick in the past, keeping us focused and working together through organizational change, consistently helping us thrive despite challenges in our industry and in the marketplace overall. It will help us stay our course in the future. We will focus on doing what we do best. We know that taking care of people is at the heart of everything we do. Caring counts.®

Sedgwick’s commitment

As a responsible corporate citizen, Sedgwick is committed to the communities where our colleagues and clients live and operate. We know that our long-term success is linked to community successes, which is one reason why we partner with and contribute to organizations that provide sustainable solutions for the social, health and educational needs of our communities.

For example, our repair solutions team in the UK is actively building relationships with social enterprises in the repair fulfillment sector. We have integrated businesses into our supply chain that operate at the intersection of the private and volunteer sectors and seek ways to reinvest or donate profits to create positive social change — one current partner incorporates recycling and green solutions into the disposal process; another employs disadvantaged or underserved members of the population. Fostering relationships like these puts our corporate citizenship into action. Learn more about our UK team's efforts through its corporate citizenship report, where you can see the many ways we are making progress.

Every day, we take care of our customers when they need it most. But this spirit of caring goes much deeper. Our ambition is to develop and evolve what we do on an ongoing basis, believing we have a responsibility to give something back to our colleagues, the environment and the wider world. By staying true to our Sedgwick values of accountability, collaboration, growth, empathy and inclusion — and of course our culture of caring — I believe we can continue to make a real difference both now and in the future.

Sources:

  1. Gardberg and Fombrun (2006)
  2. Vitalinao (2010)
  3. Simmons and Becker-Olsen (2006)
  4. Raffaelli and Glynn (2014)
  5. KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (2010)
  6. Raithel, Wilczynski, Schloderer, & Schwaiger (2010)
  7. Stangis and Smith (2017)
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