Corporate civic engagement describes how companies plan for, respond to, and participate in political, social, and cultural activities that are important to their employees, customers, communities, and other stakeholders. Unlike traditional government relations and public affairs efforts, which often relate narrowly to core business interests, corporate civic engagement often denotes a clear, public stance on broader social issues and values.
2020 sparked increased corporate civic engagement, with companies taking a more vocal stance on a larger portfolio of political and social issues than seen before. Today, those same companies are grappling with the reality of serving a broad spectrum of employees, consumers, and other stakeholders in a politically fraught environment. The current moment – and those on the horizon – will tell us a lot about the social role of the corporation moving forward. This trend report describes five key trends for corporate civic engagement in 2022:
- Since 2020, more customers than ever want companies to take a stance on social and political issues, but they may not be aligned on what that stance should be.
- Employees are increasingly willing to leave companies and mobilize their collective strength to force change, and they’re not letting CEOs get away with non-public action.
- Politicians and companies are confronting one another in uncharted territory; the risk calculus for corporate leaders is getting scrambled as a result.
- Media and third party watchdogs are bringing more transparency to the gap between commitments and actions; they’re revealing that companies still have a ways to go.
- Partnerships and playbooks are gaining momentum to address political, consumer, and employee challenges; though there remains no one-size-fits-all strategy.