Want more employee, community engagement? Start a charitable foundation

If your business says it is going to become part of your community in a real and substantial way, then you need to commit 100 percent. That is what Jabian has done, and it has made all of the difference to its employees and its neighbors.

Jabian was founded in 2006 in Atlanta, Ga., and currently has offices in Charlotte, N.C., Chicago and Dallas. With approximately 125 employees, Jabian Consulting is a strategic management and technology consulting firm with an integrated approach to creating and implementing strategies, enhancing business processes, developing human capital and better aligning technology.

With locations in multiple states, the company has had to commit to being a real part of the cities where it is located, said Grace Culleton, Jabian’s marketing manager. That means finding ways to give back with time, talent and treasure, the classic formulation of volunteering your efforts, making donations and sharing what you know.

“We’re 100% committed to giving back. Our local communities give us incredible opportunities and support,” Culleton said. “We’re grateful for this, and in return, we’ve made community involvement a stated priority, and one of our 10 guiding principles.”

True leadership
The company started its own 501(c)(3) non-profit, Jabian Cares, to address its volunteerism, leadership, and support for our local communities. It’s a bold effort and one that many companies, especially as they scale up, can replicate.

Jabian Cares was launched in 2009 as its own employee-led, community-focused 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. It currently has a board of directors made up from employees across all offices who run the foundation. Anyone can submit a request to Jabian Cares for volunteers, professional services or financial support.

“We have nearly 98% participation across the firm in Jabian Cares-related activities and we’ve built community service into how our employees are evaluated every year,” Culleton said. “More than 45% of our employees sit on local charitable or professional association boards and our employee contributions to Jabian Cares are matched dollar-for-dollar from our leadership.”

Career growth
There’s good reason to make this kind of effort – it truly can pay back rewards beyond the financial. According to American’s Charities Snapshot Employee Research, 88% of employers believe effective employee engagement programs help attract and retain employees.

Moreover, Culleton said community involvement is deeply embedded into our career model, which includes community participation as part of the expectation for career growth.

“Our community involvement consistently ranks among the highest level of satisfaction on our annual employee survey. Most new employees list our involvement as one of the reasons they chose Jabian over our competitors,” Culleton said.

Getting that kind of employee buy-in as well as community impact is a sizable goal for any company. But Jabian has shown that it can be done, and it can be done well.

“Jabian prefers to engage community organizations in a way we can offer the greatest amount of impact. This combines volunteerism, practical leadership and professional services, and financial support,” Culleton said. “Every engagement with a community organization is treated just like a normal client project and we measure and report our impact and results.”