Assessing and Meeting Community Needs

Where should your company invest?—a question that is asked time and time again to all corporate citizenship managers and one that is not easily answered. Although there is no one size fits all perfect formula, there are different tools and models that can help with strategically thinking about the best way to leverage a firm’s resources to help society as a whole. In our latest webinar we featured Carol Kalé from Hitachi, who has created a tool that makes it a little easier to answer that ever-pressing question.HitachiEngagementTool

Hitachi has several business units world-wide and each one has its own Community Action Council (CAC). Employees from the business units volunteer to join this council. Kalé and Hitachi were very cognizant of the fact that the responsibilities of serving on these councils fell outside standard job descriptions, and wanted to create a tool that allowed each employee to fully utilize their precious time spent on these CACs. This tool also ensures that each CAC is strategically aligned with Hitachi’s overall corporate citizenship and business goals, while providing the best service to society. The harmony between employees’ needs/interests, community needs, and company philosophy is where Hitachi hopes to have the initiatives fall. During the Webinar, Kalé, along with two CAC members, candidly explained how the tool works and gave an overview of the benefits. The tool follows three different sections:

1) Company Review- assessment questions based on identifying the business unit’s mission and value statement, defining what the core business goals are, and what assets the company has that may be potentially helpful to the community.

2) Community Review- assessment questions used to define the demographics of the community (links and tools are provided to help with this), what the community is already doing, and what basic needs are not being met in the community.

3) Employee Review- surveys given to every employee in order to capture their interests regarding corporate citizenship. Individual CACs were able to customize each survey but they wanted to look at the data at an aggregate level to make sure that the company is aligned with their entire employee base as a whole.

Once a CAC is able to successfully identify where the three –company, community, employee—overlap, the council then can define their focus area and strategically come up with their community activities plan. Each team then submits its rubric to Kale for further assessment of their strategy. This tool is essential to the Hitachi citizenship program and allows Kalé and her team to leverage all of their resources to make an even greater impact.

Hitachi is more than willing to share the tool with anyone, and only wishes for appropriate accreditation. In order to obtain a copy please email Elizabeth Rogers (