The AT&T Issue Brief Library

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Engaging Employees in their Communities

Materiality Assessment Topics: Employee engagement; Volunteerism; Innovation

Issue Summary

Our employee base – more than 280,000 strong – are involved in serving their communities across the country and their commitment is evident throughout our business. It’s because of their dedication and selfless service that our company is able to impact 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 often about selfless employee actions that build better futures for themselves and others.

Our 2015 sustainability accomplishments were made possible by the dedication and passion of our more than 280,000 employees. We believe actively engaged employees positively impact our overall company health — and that benefits our communities, customers and shareholders.

Data Highlights

Targets to our 2020/2025 Goals
In Progress
2016 Target: Engage students at risk of dropping out of high school with 1 million hours of mentoring with AT&T employees by the end of 2016.
  • PROGRESS: Between September 2012 and year-end 2015, students have received more than 1 million hours of mentoring by AT&T employees through Aspire Mentoring Academy, reaching our goal ahead of schedule.

Our Action

Do One Thing (DOT)

DOT is a voluntary, companywide 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’ DOTs range from saving water and volunteering to compelling their offices to use less paper.

We developed DOT to meet three objectives:

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

Since launching in May 2011 through 3Q 2015, more than 35,800 employees in 33 countries have voluntarily chosen and tracked more than 62,000 DOTs on the DOTspot Impact Calculator website. Additionally, employees have formed more than 1,260 team DOTs to create larger impacts by sharing similar passions.

Across our organization, employees are unleashing their human potential with DOT. With more than 1,100 employee volunteers leading the charge as DOT leaders, the initiative continues to activate more employees each year. Whether it’s through volunteering, recycling, innovatively using our technologies or much more, employees are using their DOTs to save resources, spark innovation and build healthy communities. See more about our DOTs on our blog.


AT&T knows the positive impact our company has on communities is a result of the skills, passions and talents of our people. We value their tireless dedication and want to encourage their spirit of volunteerism.

In 2015 we launched Your Community Day, a paid day off for management employees to volunteer their time and services to an organization or cause of their choice. 

Each year, employees and retirees invest their time and energy to serve their communities. From helping to clean up communities across the country to mentoring students who need it most, our employees continue to inspire. In 2015, our employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.4 million hours of time in community outreach activities — worth more than $124 million.1

One of these volunteers is Michael Christensen. Michael uses his expertise from his work with AT&T to help his community and encourage students to engage with STEM opportunities through a program called Destination Imagination. Michael guides 6 budding geniuses as they design, construct and sell a solution to a STEM-based technical problem to judges at various competitions. Working with the Destination Imagination team allows Michael to share his knowledge and watch as young minds create innovative solutions to tough problems. With his volunteering, Michael is truly training the next generation of STEM professionals.

In 2015, employees and retirees volunteered their time hosting various events nationwide to recognize the sacrifice of military members and their families through AT&T Pioneers, and one AT&T employee even trekked 2,000 miles across the United States to honor those who have given their lives in the name of freedom. Employees also support the military and their families by donating to military organizations through programs like our United Through Reading virtual book drive and our annual Employee Giving Campaign.

Read more about how our employees and company support the military, help out after disaster strikes and help students graduate high school.

Aspire Mentoring Academy 

In 2012, we launched the Aspire Mentoring Academy, setting a goal of providing young people with one million hours of mentoring by the end of 2016. Over the last three years, more than 174,000 underserved students in 285 cities have been mentored by our employees who encourage them to complete high school and go on to college or a career. Through the Aspire Mentoring Academy curriculum, we focus on critical 21st-century work skills, academic support and connecting learning in the classroom with future success. We reached our 1 million hour goal thanks to our employees’ tireless dedication. 

The 1 million hour milestone is just the beginning of AT&T’s efforts to close the mentoring gap. The next phase of Aspire Mentoring Academy will use the power of technology to reach even more students in more places around the world. We are already seeing how our employees are making a lasting impact on the lives of others and look forward to hearing more success stories in the years to come. Read more about the Aspire Mentoring Academy on our blog.

Employee Resource Groups/Employee Networks

We also support the activities of 12 employee resource groups and 10 Employee Networks, 7 of which are international, with more than 120,000 members. All further the company's commitment to diversity and inclusion through their efforts in the workplace, marketplace and community. In 2015, The ERGs donated than 362,000 hours of volunteer time and granted more than $619,000 in scholarships.

In 2015 we launched two new Employee Networks in the international space, the Asian Women’s Organization and Mujeres en Acción, and the membership across all 10 employee networks grew to more than 14,000 members (a 75 percent increase). In addition, we offered career development opportunities such as our ERG Leadership Academies and National ERG Conference to 52 percent of our ERG leaders.

In 2015, Women of AT&T was recognized by the Association of ERGs & Councils as part of its top 25 ERGs, ranking 18th in recognition of its signature mentoring circle program and its work with G.I.F.T (Girls in Future Technology). Additionally, in April 2016 Diversity Inc. named AT&T as the number one company for ERGs.

The Innovation Pipeline (TIP)

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

More than 130,000 employees — from 52 countries and all 50 states — are engaged in TIP. They have generated more than 28,000 ideas, and we’ve allocated $44 million to fund projects ranging from customer service enhancements to new technology offerings.

Learn more at

1 The financial equivalent is determined by using $23.07 per volunteer hour, which is based on the 2015 industry standard from Independent Sector, a leading nonprofit organization that determines the financial equivalent for a variety of volunteer initiatives.

2 Graduation rate as measured by GradNation, a campaign of America’s Promise Alliance:

Updated on: Aug 1, 2016