Gone is the time when companies could just provide products and services and generate revenue. They are expected to also be good corporate citizens.
Today, many companies contribute to their communities in some way. They may support one or more local nonprofits or charitable causes by raising funds and collecting donations, while others provide volunteers. These efforts are generally referred to as corporate social responsibility, or CSR.
Most of the world’s largest companies are involved in corporate philanthropy, according to the Houston Chronicle. Some have their own nonprofit arms. For example, Microsoft works closely with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to bring technology to communities across the globe.
As Americans become increasingly aware of issues affecting our society, employees want – and some expect – their employers to respond. It could be in the form of a sustainability program to help conserve natural resources, approving workplace activism in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, extending grants to highly rated national charities – or all of these things.
There is so much to choose from.
Wiley measures intersection of CSR, education and DE&I
Last year saw a heightened demand for CSR, according to the our eBook “The Transformation of Corporate Diversity.” The eBook was created from research focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).
We at Wiley Beyond assist companies that recognize the need for CSR, wish to address their skills-diversity disconnect, and learn just how transformational a DE&I strategy can be for every aspect of their business.
Nearly 80% of those surveyed want organizations to focus on social justice issues, while 87% said they would buy from a company that supports issues they care about. Finally, 76% will not make any purchases from a company that opposes issues they care about.
Therefore, if your company is thinking about implementing a CSR program, here are three important ways the organization – and its workforce – will benefit.
1. Greater ability to attract/retain the best talent
There’s a lot of competition to acquire top talent in the marketplace. Do you wonder how you can tilt the odds in your favor? Here’s a tip: the company with a robust CSR program will appeal more to socially conscious job candidates than one that chooses not to support their communities or declines to take a stand on important cultural issues.
As Forbes points out, younger adults in particular are interested in working for companies with good reputations; and that are active in their communities.
These workers are keen to align their personal beliefs with their professional goals. In fact, over 60% of Gen Y and Millennial adults donate to charities, while over 40% are active volunteers or members of some type of community organization.
In addition, over half have signed petitions.
2. Enhancing the organization’s brand position
What makes a consumer choose the product sold by Company A rather than Company B?
One deciding factor could be a CSR program. By supporting causes and initiatives relevant to the business, Company A, which does participate in corporate social responsibility, will differentiate itself from Company B, which does not. Company A’s brand – what they do and why – is further elevated by its actions and involvement.
In fact, a strategically developed and properly implemented CSR program can enhance a brand’s ability to create and sustain a positive image in the marketplace, according to CPA and business advisory firm Brown Smith Wallace.
3. Improvement in staff motivation and productivity
A CSR program does more than attract top talent. It also positively impacts existing employees, as Inc notes. CSR strengthens employee retention, improves productivity, builds loyalty, and boosts motivation. And it can also foster teamwork by bringing different groups together within an organization to support a common cause.
According to an America’s Charities white paper, “Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Engagement: Making the Connection,” CSR and employee engagement “are two of the most discussed issues in the business world today.”
One key finding of the white paper was that CSR programs impact business outcomes, e.g., employee productivity and retention.
Investing in CSR is good business
To summarize, growing numbers of companies are embracing corporate social responsibility initiative as a way to address the societal and cultural forces impacting our country – and the world. It also helps a company stand out from its competition.
Younger workers especially expect their employer to support nonprofit charitable and community organizations, and advocate for worthy causes. This particularly holds true if a cause is directly related to their line of business.
Those that establish such programs will attract the best talent available for hire, increase their brand equity in the marketplace, and motivate and inspire current employees. Ultimately, these companies will become more desirable – and more profitable.
To learn more about how Wiley Beyond partners with companies to support employee education as a catalyst for DE&I and social good, download our eBook, The Transformation of Corporate Diversity.