At this year’s WorkHuman Conference, pioneered by Globoforce, I learned about a new employee benefit called social justice PTO. We’re familiar with the concept of PTO (paid time off). Instead of employees having vacation days, sick days, etc., they have one bank of time to use as they choose.
Social justice PTO is paid time off but for social issues, like protests or marches. Some organizations are allowing employees to use their existing PTO banks for social justice activities, but others have created more specific policies. Here are a few articles worth checking out:
‘Social Justice PTO’ is the hot new perk for companies with activist employees (Business Insider)
One company that’s at the forefront of social justice PTO is retailer Patagonia. During the conference, the speaker mentioned that Patagonia allows employees one paid social justice day off per month AFTER they attend a training session on how to be a good activist.
Regardless of your political leanings, I can see this being something that organizations need to pay attention to. A new survey conducted by Harris Poll for Glassdoor indicated that 75 percent of Millennials expect their employer to take a stand on important social issues affecting the country. Those issues include immigration, equal rights, and environmental change.
If the survey data is correct, then companies who take a stand on important social issues could have an advantage finding and hiring the best talent. Employees might have a higher level of engagement because they feel the company shares their social values – or, at least, support them.
I realize this might be different from what we’ve always expected in a business setting. But times are changing. Along with roles and responsibilities. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), corporate social responsibility (CSR) is part of the HR competency model. That means that HR pros need to understand and guide the organization through the social justice PTO process. HR doesn’t have to necessarily establish the company’s CSR initiatives, but they need to help the organization realize that CSR is important and has an impact.
In today’s business world, employers cannot sit on the fence. Well…they can, the question is will it benefit them. More importantly, will it benefit their current and potential employees.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby on the streets of South Florida