How Employee Volunteering Creates a Competitive Advantage

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How Employee Volunteering Creates a Competitive Advantage

Case studies, research and lots of links
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Companies with employee volunteering programs have a competitive advantage - here's how and why #CSR
Monday, August 1, 2011 - 9:45am

 Invisible Advantages 

The competitive advantage of a company is less about what’s produced and more (much more) about how it's produced. That’s because every company has two kinds of resources to work with when producing goods and services: tangible resources and intangible resources.

Tangible resources are things like desks, machines, buildings, raw materials, and staplers. Intangible resources are anything that cannot be touched or shoved in a drawer. Tangible resources are sometimes hard to come by and yet they can usually be accessed by competitors given enough time and money. (Read more here.)

While most of us think about tangible resources when it comes to business, (after all, everyone needs plenty of paperclips) they are not the greatest factor when it comes to competition.

It is a company’s intangible resources that are instrumental in achieving competitive advantage.


Intangible resources are a bit trickier for competitors. They are valuable, rare, socially complex, and in many cases, almost impossible to replicate. Things like brand image, team dynamics, innovation, human capital, reputation, and corporate culture fall into the intangible category. If you’re wondering about the value of these resources compared to, say, paperclips, think about Zappos and Apple.  

The Employee Factor

Most intangible resources have a direct connection with employees. So it makes complete sense that developing employee ability to perform is a highly valued tactic toward increasing intangible resources. Businesses investing in employee development can expect to see gains in performance, organizational commitment, and innovation.

Beyond the skills gained by the employee, training programs indicate that the employer is willing to “invest in its human capital that both builds employee capabilities and increases their degree of job satisfaction.” (Read more here.) Ultimately, employee development is essential if companies hope to adapt and develop within a constantly changing business environment. 

Read the rest of the article here.


Angela Parker
Keywords: Diversity & Inclusion | CSR | Corporate Citizenship | Corporate Social Responsibility | Employee Engagement | Employee Volunteer Programs | HR | comptetive advantage | corproate volunteering | employee volunteering | human resources