Centers for Work and Family, Corporate Community Relations collaborate

Report finds Employee-Community Links

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

A joint report by two Boston College research centers finds strong links between how companies treat their employees and how they relate to their communities.

The paper by the Center for Work and Family and the Center for Corporate Community Relations, titled "Enhancing Strategic Value: Becoming a Company of Choice," sees a natural connection between corporate efforts to be a "neighbor of choice" and an "employer of choice," and says coordinating the two strategies will bolster business success. The centers' first collaborative publication also provides a framework for linking family-friendliness with good corporate citizenship.

"Some human resources departments are leading the effort to institute progressive policies such as flex-time and paid time off for employees to volunteer in their children's classrooms," said an author of the report, CWF Director Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes. "Meantime, community relations professionals may be focusing on improving local education systems. Is there a link between the two? Should there be?"

There is, and there should be, the report claims, and offers several reasons. Employee volunteerism is a cornerstone initiative at many companies, according to the report, and volunteer opportunities help attract and retain employees.

Another reason to promote ties between work-family and community relations goals, the report says, is that company reputation in the broader community is linked to employees' perception of the company. Workers with positive views of their companies are likely to share their perspectives with their neighbors.

Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes.

Employees also have "insider" knowledge about the community, the report says. They are aware of the community's priorities, know who the opinion leaders are, and can assess which outreach efforts are likely to succeed.

The other impetus for becoming a "company of choice," the authors say, is employees may be able to help community relations departments establish new relationships with communities. A company that encourages community members to consider working for it will find it easier to forge relationships within the community.

The report was authored by Pitt-Catsouphes, Irene Fassler, a policy analyst affiliated with the Center for Work & Family, and Center for Corporate Community Relations Director Bradley Googins.

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