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Engaging Employees in their Communities

Materiality Assessment Topics: Philanthropy and Employee volunteerism | Global Reporting Initiative G4 Indicators: LA9, LA10

Issue Summary

Our employees are involved in serving their communities across the country, and their commitment is evident across the company. Their dedication and selfless service impacts the communities where we live and work. Our company strives to empower them and provide opportunities for employees around the world to use their skills and passions for good. 

Our Position

At AT&T, sustainability isn’t just about corporate initiatives and boardroom decisions. It’s also about selfless employee actions that build better futures for ourselves and others.

Our 2016 sustainability accomplishments were made possible by the dedication and passion of our more than 265,000 employees. Our goal is to support our employees’ engagement efforts by giving them tools, resources and opportunities they can use to make a difference in their communities.

Data Highlights

2016 Key Performance Indicators
  • Number of hours volunteered through employee and retiree volunteer programs in 2016: >5.4M
  • Dollar amount associated with volunteerism in 2016: >$129Mi
  • Number of individual employee pledges through Employee Giving Campaign in 2016: >37.45M
  • Number of student mentoring hours by employees since 2012: >1.5M
  • Total employee members of an Employee Resource group (both U.S. and international): >136,000
  • Investment in development of new ideas generated through The Innovation Pipeline, cumulative since 2009: $45 million committed, with more than 80 projects allocated for development.

i The financial equivalent is determined by using $23.56 per volunteer hour, which is based on the 2015 industry standard from Independent Sector, a leading non-profit organization that determines the financial equivalent for a variety of volunteer initiatives.

Our Action

DOT logo

Do One Thing (DOT)

DOT is a voluntary, company-wide effort that encourages employees to commit to regular, measurable actions (DOTs) that are good for themselves, their communities and/or the company. DOT personalizes sustainability and makes it relevant and meaningful to each employee. Employees’ DOT activities range from reducing water use and volunteering to encouraging peers in their office to use less paper. 

We developed DOT to meet 3 objectives:

  • Educate employees about citizenship and sustainability.
  • Increase employees’ understanding of our commitment to social and environmental good.
  • Create a simple way to involve interested employees in citizenship and sustainability efforts.

Since DOT launched in May 2011 through the end of 4Q 2016, more than 45,000 employees in 40 countries have voluntarily chosen and tracked more than 81,000 DOTs on the DOTspot Impact Calculator website. Additionally, employees have formed more than 1,500 DOT teams to create larger impacts by sharing similar passions.

Learn more about AT&T's DOTs on our blog.


Each year, employees and retirees invest their time and energy in serving their communities. From helping to clean up communities across the country to mentoring students who need it most, our employees continue to inspire. In 2016, our employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.4 million hours of time in community outreach activities — worth more than $129 million.

The AT&T Community Engagement team administers company-coordinated volunteer events for employees throughout the year. For example, when a disaster strikes — such as the August 2016 floods that submerged thousands of homes and businesses in Louisiana — our employees and retirees are provided opportunities to volunteer to support clean-up and restoration efforts.

As another example, AT&T joined Give Kids the World Village to host a volunteer day in Orlando. Nearly 600 people worked together to make it possible for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to celebrate a year’s worth of holidays in a week.

Another way the actions of our employees help to benefit their communities is through the Employee Giving Campaign, the company’s annual initiative to encourage employees to contribute to their favorite non-profits. 2016 marked our most generous Campaign to date, with AT&T employees pledging $40.8 million — an increase of $3.5 million compared to 2015 Campaign results.

In 2016, we introduced the company’s Charity Rewards program. Charity Rewards are provided to employees to allow them to recommend the AT&T Foundation donate funds to a non-profit. Employees received Charity Rewards based on the money they contribute or the amount of time they volunteer. Last year, more than 25,500 employees redeemed their Charity Rewards for a total of $3.6 million given to thousands of charities.

In Latin America, through a volunteerism initiative called Piedra, Papel, Tijera (“Rock, Paper, Scissors”), employees participated in renovation projects at local schools and community organizations. These projects were captured on video and broadcast as a television series in order to build awareness for the organizations and people who benefited from the volunteer projects. In 2015, Piedra, Papel, Tijera reached 1.2 million viewers in 10 countries and engaged more than 2,000 employees who volunteered more than 15,000 hours through 39 projects. Since its September 2009 inception, more than 150 projects were completed in 12 countries.

Mentoring as Part of AT&T Aspire 

As part of our signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, we connect AT&T employees with students to provide mentoring and help students discover their passions and potential. Since September 2012, AT&T employees have provided more than 1.5 million hours of mentoring to more than 260,000 underserved students in over 390 cities. Through our Aspire mentoring events, we focus on critical 21st-century work skills, academic support and connecting learning in the classroom with future success.

Our mentoring initiatives also use the power of technology to reach even more students in more places around the world. This past school year, we contributed more than $1.3 million to innovative organizations such as iCouldBe, iMentor and We Teach Science to help more students explore their potential through online mentoring.

Employee Resource Groups

We have 12 ERGs that are open to all employees and reflect the diversity of our workforce. The groups include representation for women, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, LGBT employees, employees with disabilities, veterans, young professionals and experienced career professionals.

The ERGs are non-profit organizations that help members grow professionally and personally, support the company’s annual goals and serve the community. AT&T recognizes the value and goodwill that ERGs provide in furthering the company’s goals, values and interests. The combined ERGs in 2016 accounted for more than 369,914 volunteer hours and granted more than $699,900 in scholarships.

In September 2016, AT&T held its 8th-annual National ERG Conference, in which nearly 2,000 members paid their own lodging and airfare to attend. More than 100 AT&T officers and senior managers also attended the event to share business strategies with the audience, moderate workshops and meet with ERG presidents.

The annual conference also recognizes our 12 Champions of Diversity from the past year. The program honors general managers whose role-model behavior supports AT&T’s diversity and inclusion values and our employee resource groups/employee networks. Selections are determined by a corporate diversity team that includes our chairman and chief diversity officer.

In 2016 our ERGs received several awards, including:

  • DiversityInc ranked AT&T’s ERGs No. 1 on its Top 10 Companies for ERGs list, as part of AT&T’s overall No. 4 ranking among its “Top 50 Companies for Diversity.”
  • LATINA Style magazine ranked HACEMOS – AT&T’s ERG for Hispanics – on its “Employee Resource Groups of the Year” list.
  • Asia Society recognized AT&T as a “Best Employer for Asian Pacific Americans Employee Resource Groups – Distinguished Performance,” as well as a “Best Practices Company: Asian Pacific American Employee Resource Groups – Best in Class.”

Employee Networks

We have 11 employee networks (ENs), with a primary focus on specific business or professional development topics. ENs are organized around cross-functional diversity and address business challenges to achieve successful results while increasing members’ individual professional development.

AT&T has launched 4 ENs in the past two years, including two in 2016: AT&T Professional Engineers and Pulse of India. Of the 11 total ENs, seven are international and five serve primarily women. In 2016, employee network members accounted for 13,475 volunteer hours.

TIP logo

The Innovation Pipeline (TIP)

We built The Innovation Pipeline (TIP), an online crowdsourcing platform, to tap the collective imagination of our employees. We believe it is the world’s largest corporate crowdsourcing site. It allows employee ideas to grow; get refined and enhanced; and become real products, applications and services for our customers.

More than 130,000 employees — from 54 countries and all 50 states — are engaged in TIP. They have generated more than 43,000 ideas, and we’ve allocated $45 million to fund projects ranging from customer service enhancements to new technology offerings.

Learn more at or visit our Innovation Issue Brief.

i The financial equivalent is determined by using $23.56 per volunteer hour, which is based on the 2015 industry standard from Independent Sector, a leading non-profit organization that determines the financial equivalent for a variety of volunteer initiatives.

Updated on: Feb 8, 2018