A well-built corporate social responsibility program includes developing a strategy that reaches your entire organization, engaging employees in volunteerism, tracking hours, developing a volunteer time off policy, reporting on outcomes and impact, and creating connections to employees and community. And the benefits of CSR that stem from these efforts are good for your company, your employees and your community.
Companies are constantly striving for ways to set themselves apart and employees are consistently looking for ways to become civically engaged through their work. Did you know that 55% of employees choose socially-conscious companies over profit-focused brands? When these two ideas come together, along with finding innovative ways recruit new talent and retain employees, you have the perfect rationale for launching a CSR at your company.
When making the case for the importance of starting a formal CSR program, here are a few ways it can add value. Share this reasoning and data points in your presentation to senior leadership about the positive outcomes of doing well by doing good.
1. CSR Programs Save Money and Grow Employee Engagement
Creating a thoughtful and structured CSR program can actually offer cost savings. Companies can improve revenue by more than $2 million and reduce costs by almost $400,000 for every 1,000 employees because happy staffers are more productive staffers.
Plus, when companies drive social impact, they see an increase in the number of employees who go above and beyond at work. Sixty percent of employees reported improved engagement among peers after companies implemented an enterprise-wide social impact strategy. And employees who participate in employer-sponsored volunteering are five times more engaged at work.
2. CSR Programs Boost Retention
Companies with highly engaged workforces have 24% less staff turnover, 17% higher productivity rates and 21% higher profitability. Obviously, companies have a fiscal responsibility to operate in the black, but there’s more to that practice than meets the eye. Employees want to see that companies are having a positive social impact. Building a team solely focused on social impact through a formalized CSR program creates an environment that supports employee engagement, which is good for the bottom line. Plus, companies that take a stand on social issues retain employees when they drive social impact.
“Know your company’s philanthropic priorities, the causes around which you hope to make the biggest impact, and the types of resources — human, financial, product, expertise, networks, visibility — you can bring to the table.”
— Katie Stearns, Chief Global Corporate Solutions Officer
3. CSR Programs Drive Recruitment
Having a clear and demonstrated impact sets you up to attract top talent. A company’s social impact track record can not only influence a candidate’s decision to choose to work there, it can also influence future candidates’ perception of that company.
Research shows that Gen Z employees overwhelmingly want to work for a company that takes a stand on social impact. Mentioning CSR activities in job postings increases the number of applicants by 25 percent. And 64% won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility values.
“Gen Z and millennial workers are looking for more than just a paycheck – they want to work for an employer that provides ways for them to use their voice and strengthen communities.”
— Katy Elder, Vice President, Business Innovation
4. CSR Programs Create Favorable Brand Awareness
It’s common to see a company doing positive things in their community on social media. These posts typically highlight the work done through a CSR program. Setting your company apart with a well-organized CSR program can offer positive brand awareness your company will benefit from. Take Lowe’s 100 Hometowns, for example, a major initiative to complete 100 community impact projects across the United States each year, or Raytheon Technologies and their work to inspire and prepare high school students for careers in tech and engineering. Seeing employees volunteering within their community demonstrates a more organic way of promoting your company versus paying for ad space on social.
Consider using these points as you think about how best to reach your senior leadership audience and speak to what’s important to them. If you are approaching the Human Resource Vice President, for example, do your research on specific ways the CSR program can influence and even reduce costs for recruitment and retention. If you are speaking to the Chief of External Affairs, consider explaining all the built-in story opportunities their team will have with the addition of employees giving back—anywhere from organic campaigns, to the increase use of employee-generated content, to plentiful heartfelt stories to use for the annual report. If you’re speaking to the Chief Financial Officer, it’s great to connect the performance metrics of engaged employees to the bottom line. It’s a wise investment. No matter your audience, the benefits of CSR are clear: they save money, grow employee engagement, boost retention, drive recruitment and reflect well on your brand.