The season of giving is fast approaching, so what better time to talk about Corporate Social Responsibility? After all, employees are in a festive and charitable mood and wise companies are looking for ways to align employee and company values. Until recently, social responsibility has generally been viewed as a way to enhance employer branding or to offset the effects that business has on the community, society or environment companies depend on. Though most employers do engage in some form of social responsibility, it’s at their discretion to use it as a component as part of a broader business strategy.
As job seeker and employee trends have evolved, it’s placed newfound significance on strategically sound CSR strategies and how they can and do influence the talent pool. With 2016 right around the corner, now is the time for companies to start developing CSR strategies that align with their business goals and values. By combining industry trends and insights, changes in employee expectations, and CSR best practices, employers can begin developing corporate philanthropy programs that are strategic, consistent, and coordinated to align with their goals and values.
1. Linking to Performance. Having CSR strategies has become an integral driver of performance. Business relationships and company reputation are considerably influenced by a company’s CSR initiatives, impacting long-term growth, business opportunities and competitiveness in the industry. However, with companies like PepsiCo leading comprehensive CSR strategies to cover several initiatives that simultaneously align with their business values, employers are witnessing how, if used right, CSR drives corporate culture and innovation. A groundbreaking study done by IO Sustainability, called Project ROI, attempts to quantify the benefits of CR and CSR programs and reveals that just the presence of CR programs has the potential to increase revenue by up to 20% and consumer commitment by up to 60%. Effective CSR programs can increase brand value by 11% and have long-term impact on shareholder value. Now that there is quantifiable evidence that CSR is linked to performance, companies will no longer see social responsibility efforts as just a trend.
2. Getting Involved. There’s a growing movement towards directly involving employees in corporate philanthropy. This means that in addition to cash donations, companies are making in-kind donations by utilizing the strengths of their workforce to provide a more meaningful, impactful contribution to CSR initiatives. Research conducted by CECP shows that the top quartile of companies observed had a minimum of 50% employee participation in CSR efforts and in the past two years paid time-off for employee volunteering grew from 54% of companies to 59% of companies, indicating a growing interest in company wide volunteering opportunities. What this tells us is that on top of improving performance, non-cash donations, like volunteering, may be a key factor in gaining employee participation and engagement in CSR initiatives.
3. Using Strengths for More Impact. As companies take more systematic steps to maximize their social footprint, many are focusing their resources and the skills of their workforce towards CSR initiatives. For example, by utilizing their strengths and resources, United Airline’s created the “Impact Plan” which aims to help with disaster relief response, services that help fight hunger and assistance efforts for Veterans and children in need. Not only does this alignment of company goals and resources make sense from a business management standpoint, but it makes it possible for companies to conduct CSR reporting to measure and adapt their efforts over time. This concentrated focus allows companies to make the impact on society greater and more meaningful.
Social responsibility has a significant influence on company performance as a whole, but this is in large part due to the rapidly evolving expectations presented by today’s workforce. In the next section, these expectations will be examined to outline the growing importance being placed on effective CSR programs.
Why CSR Matters to the Workforce
“In today's interconnected society, employees expect more from their employers. Passionate leadership can drive a company to give back to their larger communities and that kind of dynamic culture is what many people are looking for when deciding where they want to work, especially Millennials.” - Linda Novick O'Keefe, contributor, Huffington Post.
As the workplace changes, so do the wants/needs/demands of your employees. Today’s workforce, comprised increasingly of Millennials, demands a work environment that provides them with meaningful career development. Part of that development includes working for a socially responsible employer. Research shows that CSR has the potential to influence job seeking behavior and can greatly increase employee engagement. Here is what some of the research tells us:
● According to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial survey, 47% of the Millennial respondents believe the purpose of business is to improve society/protect the environment.
● 84% of job seekers would leave their current job for a company with an excellent corporate reputation.
● Companies with fully committed CSR programs can reduce worker turnover by as much as 50%.
The job market is flourishing and employees are at a serious advantage when deciding where to work. This is their time to be picky. Make it harder for them to walk away by having the kind of CSR program they can’t ignore. Do so and you could simultaneously attract new talent while engaging your current workforce.
How to Kickoff CSR Best Practices
Send out an email detailing your new program. Slowly introduce the company to these ideas via a team of ambassadors you select. Create fliers for physical distribution and hold a series of meetings informing employees of the new programs to be put into place and how you envision people pitching in and participating. Go through a list of scenarios they can expect from the newly incorporated program(s) and give key details about the processes as a whole (how to login to the website or key dates to remember). Remember, employees actually desire to work for companies whose values align with their own and where they can see goals and expected outcomes clearly.
Introduce a volunteer program. Look for corporate volunteer programs that aim to reach large numbers of employees. Companies can certainly benefit from increasing volunteer opportunities largely, especially volunteer opportunities that speak to larger masses. Companies reported that, on average, 30% of their employee base participated by volunteering for at least one hour on-company-time. Not only do these programs help your community, they can lead to real skill development in your workforce.
Shockingly only 64% of global consumers say they only pay attention to company CSR efforts if an organization is going above and beyond what other companies are doing.
64% of global consumers only pay attention to CSR efforts if the organization goes above and beyond.
Take action, consider these different tactics to incorporating CSR programs into your company.
● Company-wide day of service
● Pro Bono work
● Use social media to voice your support for (whichever/whatever charity you support)
Get behind Brazil! Brazil citizens hold CSR programs with high regard when applying for jobs.
“Brazilian citizens remain steadfast in both their expectations and enthusiasm for company CSR efforts. This group is near unanimous in its desire for companies to go beyond simply making a profit for shareholders but also expects companies to operate responsibly to address issues (96% vs. 91% global average). These high expectations mean Brazilians are holding companies to even higher standards. More than any other country surveyed, eight-in-10 Brazilians say they would only pay attention to CSR efforts if a company goes above and beyond what others are doing (82% vs. 64% global average).”- Cone Communications Ebiquity Global CSR study.
Why it matters: Using many different mediums to ensure your company puts CSR programs on the map is a multi-faceted tactic to get social responsibility into your company.
Yes, social responsibility has generally been viewed as a way to enhance employer branding or simply to offset the effects that business has on the community, society or environment companies depend on. However many companies aren’t using CR and CSR programs to their full potential. Now that you have the information to push forward your social responsibility programs put your company to the test, see how your company can implement these programs today with the help of a complete talent management software.
- Why Employees' Opinions Matter in Talent Management
- Recruiting High Performers: Compensation Out, Compassion In
- Creating a Better Hiring Process through Experience
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.