Employers who do good, do well
That simple idea is at the core of The Hitachi Foundation's Business and Work Program. We discover and promote business practices that help low-wealth American workers move up the economic ladder - while also creating returns for business owners, investors, and consumers. We call the businesses that develop these practices Pioneer Employers, and in the last three years we have identified and profiled over 50 of them in manufacturing and health care. Our goal is to help other business leaders see the business value of investing in one of the most under-valued resources around: their own front-line workforces.
Our approach to this work takes the following steps
Amass The Evidence:
- We work closely with partners in several subsectors
- Macro forces influencing employment practices: principally supply chain, market demand and the policy environment.
Employ interlocking change strategies to achieve a tipping-point:
- Catalytic change ignited and informed by pioneering employers
- Aspirations for excellence motivated and supported by objective standards, rewards, and recognition
- Place-based collaborative change
Apply leverage to achieve impact:
- Joint-venture partnerships with other funders and leaders where shared investment of intellectual and financial capital achieves measurable results
We focus on the incentives that influence business leader decision-making. Because isolated interventions cannot address the complexity of the issues we are concerned about, our approach seeks to address not only policies and practices within the business entity, but also community and macro-level efforts that can influence them.
Within the business entity, we are particularly interested in policies and practices that help low-wealth individuals achieve career and economic success, such as greater access to and improved training and career advancement opportunities. Outside the firm, we aim to influence how opinion leaders evaluate and reward businesses, refining their understanding and raising expectations of what qualifies a company as socially responsible.
We maximize our ability to discover new strategies and disseminate what we learn through the power of partnership, working with others eager to join us in this process. Partnerships enable us to learn more, in more places, and have a greater impact. It allows us to achieve a more focused alignment of the philanthropic community around the role of business in society. Two such partnerships are the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and the Jobs to Careers project.
A comprehensive overview of our change strategy is found in our strategic plan 2009-2013--Business and Society: Discovering a New Social Compact for the 21st Century while a summary of the Business and Work program is found in the latest brochure (pdf).
We only award grants to organizations responding to an invitation by the Foundation to submit proposals. (See Guidelines for Grant Seekers).