Keystone Accountability has been working with CECP, a coalition of CEOs who believe that societal improvement is an essential measure of business performance, on feedback loops.
In the guest blog below Courtney Murphy, CECP’s Director, Strategic Initiatives, explains what they discovered.
Over the course of the past year, CECP, with guidance from Keystone Accountability, has been systematically collecting feedback from our companies to improve our work and help us measure the impact we as an organization are having on the field of corporate societal engagement. Along the way, we applied and took to heart the valuable feedback received. We were pleased to learn that 95% of companies believe CECP will use the feedback effectively. CECP and our companies are still acclimating to this new practice of continuous feedback loops, but our compa
nies’ high degree of trust in CECP and investment in this critical dialogue will more than rewarded through the actions we are taking now:
Deepening connections: Most striking to CECP is how our companies are looking for ways to expand their partnerships and connect with CECP – and each other – at a deeper level. Companies rely on CECP for thought-leadership and access to leading voices in the field, and with 93% of companies finding CECP events to be always or mostly effective to their work, we are focusing in on delivering enhanced insights and peer networking within our flagship Summit and year-round events. CECP is also positioned to take on more challenging topics – around equity, diversity, and responses to the all-too frequent tragedies of our time. In addition, companies indicated that it would be valuable to hear more from organizations across the globe, and CECP is pleased to have launched the Global Exchange with support from Newman’s Own.
Strategic Counsel and Results: Feedback indicates that companies look to CECP for practical, evidence-based advice and best practices. When asked about CECP’s consultative services, 86% say CECP is always or mostly able to help revise strategy and 76% say engaging with CECP contributes to societal engagement results. Similarly, 77% say Giving in Numbers is helpful or very helpful in advancing their work (particularly in advocating internally for programs and resources) – and we were pleased to have record participation in the survey this year (271 companies). We know that our companies are stretched thin – and CECP aims to make things easier for a corporate manager that is pulled every which way on a daily basis by sharing actionable insights, and a new, user-friendly CECP website and data collection system is expected in the fall.
Focus on the Business Case: In this fast-changing landscape, CECP continues to support the Corporate Social Engagement leader’s expanded role within the business, which requires engaging new stakeholders in this shift to focus on purpose (influencing HR, Investor Relations, etc.). To that end, CECP led a pilot study on Investing with Purpose, supported by Prudential (white paper to be released this summer), and has launched the Strategic Investor Initiative to bring together long-term investors with companies to focus on long-term value creation. With CEO leadership being central to a company’s culture and values, our companies identified a need to build the business case and know-how for social engagement, which was a lead topic for the Summit and one we continue to advance. To help companies quantify their impacts further, CECP is leading the development of a Social Scorecard, and with support from USAA, CECP’s Good Beyond Giving pilot is capturing additional corporate “good” activities outside of Total Giving.
Through CECP Engage, CECP is mirroring what we’ve seen at work at our companies over the years. At first there was a push for more investment, which resulted in a desire to measure what works, followed by the need to step back and listen, to refine and adjust strategically based on what we’ve learned. While the temptation in these processes is to hunker down for internal planning, CECP has turned outwards to develop the competency of listening, fostering the kind of culture within CECP that is open to hard truths and new possibilities. Through authentic two-way dialogue with our companies, we have uncovered even greater potential to advance individual companies and the field as a whole.
As we prepare for the start of our next year together, we want to hear from you: How can we deepen our partnership to advance progress towards your societal and business goals?