From the early days of Atlassian, giving back has been part of our DNA. That’s why when our founders, Mike and Scott, made their first dollar, they decided to pledge 1% of it to a good cause. It was the least they could do then, and now Atlassian’s sustained commitment to corporate social responsibility has grown into a foundation that’s given $17 million to the community.
But it’s not just about what our founders started back in 2002. It’s about all Atlassian employees, and the things they care about and want Atlassian to stand for. Our previous work in the area of diversity and belonging and climate sustainability have been the efforts of a passionate group of Atlassians who believed they could be the change they wished to see.
And I am excited to report that this passion for change, for advocacy, accountability, and sustainability is something that unites many workers around the globe. We commissioned research from PwC Australia to better understand what responsibility workers in the United States and Australia feel that companies have to solve for societal issues, and how that involvement affects their sense of satisfaction within their own companies.
What we found was, overwhelmingly, workers are asking companies to be more accountable and involved and that demand is only increasing as younger generations enter the workforce. This creates a great challenge and opportunity for businesses as they plan for the future.
In our research we found that:
- 69 percent of workers in Australia and 60 percent of U.S. workers agree businesses should be just as concerned with their societal impact as they are with their financial performance.
- 78 percent of workers in Australia and 73 percent of U.S. workers agree businesses need to take full responsibility for their environmental impact.
- 67 percent of Australian workers agree businesses should publicly encourage governments to act on societal issues which are important to the community. And 62 percent of American workers agree business leaders should hold politicians to account on major issues.
This drive for change is something that we believe will set companies and organizations apart, increase employee satisfaction, and ultimately improve business value to a broad set of stakeholders. But there is room for growth. Currently, just 34 percent of Australian workers and 42 percent of U.S. workers are satisfied with the level of action their own employer takes on key societal issues.
And, more than one-third of U.S. employees agreed that if their employer were to act in a way that didn’t align with their values they would quit their job. This surprising statistic rises to 43 percent among the emerging workforce, Gen Z, in the United States.
All this data signals to us that for companies to thrive in the future of work, they must consider these issues as part of their bottom line. Businesses today have an enormous responsibility to listen to their employees, and work with them to build a better world for us all to live in.
Many companies focus only on the Return on Investment and delivering profit for shareholders. But times have changed. As business leaders we should listen to the views of the workforce; focusing on our impact on society delivers a return of its own. It’s now on us to respond.Scott Farquhar, Atlassian Co-Founder and Co-CEO
So now I turn the question over to you: What do you think the responsibility of business should be on important societal issues? Take our interactive quiz today to see how you compare to your peers.
Special thanks to Jamey Austin for his contributions to this article.