People Magazine

How corporate social responsibility can impact your employee engagement

Corporate Social Responsibility
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Corporate social responsibility is a vital tool for any company that wishes to grow its success and make a positive impact on the world.

It is also an excellent way to improve your organization’s performance in employee engagement.

Strong employee engagement can make your organization significantly more productive and profitable.

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the practice by which companies undertake some form of action that will benefit the community. The activities associated with CSR will usually range from monetary donations, often a percentage of profits, to environment sustainability measures whether within their office or throughout a product’s manufacturing process.

What are the benefits of corporate social responsibility?

The importance of corporate social responsibility is increasingly well documented as the evolution of the modern workforce has developed. Studies from around the world have consistently shown that CSR can impact your organization in a range of positive ways. While we are focusing on the way in which corporate social responsibility can impact employee engagement, there are several key benefits in addition to this that are great reasons for why your organization should prioritize its commitment to CSR.

Better consumer engagement

With modern customers becoming increasingly discerning about the brands they connect with, establishing yourself as an organization with excellent CSR credentials could substantially appeal to your target demographic.

New ideas

By directing your organization to consider different factors, such as sustainability, in the development and production of products, you can find yourself innovating new concepts and methods that are actually a vast improvement overall. While “using the “lens of sustainability,” Unilever was able to innovate new products such as a hair conditioner that uses “less water” a result they wouldn’t have found without their CSR commitment.

Improved financials

ot only can the type of innovation that comes with sustainability often lead to cost-saving solutions, but good CSR initiatives will raise the perception of your brand, particularly in regards to your competition, and could, therefore, have a huge impact on your bottom line.

How does it link to employee engagement?

There are two key reasons why your company’s CSR initiatives can help improve your employee engagement; the way it makes them feel about work and the way it makes them feel about your company.

A company that has made CSR part of its overall functions is one that is transparent and ethical. Having a 360 degree CSR infiltration in your organization creates an environment where employees feel comfortable in speaking up. They will also feel supported enough to excel and openly communicated with about company evolution and changes.

Corporate social responsibility and employee engagement are also inextricably linked when it comes to their perception of your brand as a whole. Workers now prioritize the ethos of a brand far more when considering a new role, or even whether to stay in an existing one; particularly for millennials, the mission of an organization and its impact on the world rate higher than the potential remuneration.

Even non-millennials are twice as likely to stay in an organization with excellent CSR practices.

Why is employee engagement important?

In today’s marketplace employers have recognized the value their staff has to the success of their business and that their social responsibility towards employees is less of an obligation and more of an investment. When employees feel more connected to and supported by their organization, they not only perform better, but they are more likely to promote your brand. Studies even show that highly engaged workplaces have 70% fewer safety accidents.

By using engagement practices you can drastically improve your employee satisfaction, retention, and health. Happy, healthy employees are better for your bottom line; engaged workplaces have 21% higher profitability than their peers.

LeadX put together an Engagement-Profit Train that explains the domino effect successful employee engagement can have on your financial success:

Engaged Employees lead to…
higher service, quality, and productivity, which leads to…
higher customer satisfaction, which leads to…
increased sales (from more repeat business and referrals), which leads to…
higher levels of profit, which leads to…
higher shareholder returns (i.e., stock
price)

What ways can you improve your corporate social responsibility?

There are several options available to companies looking to start or expand their corporate social responsibility initiatives. But ultimately those who succeed the most in this arena are those for whom the concept of greater social responsibility towards employees and their communities, as well as overall sustainability, is embedded into everything the organization does from top to bottom.

Brands are now evaluated by customers, clients, employees and partners on their footprint within their community (even if that is a global one), those that choose to have a more positive impact are often rewarded with loyalty and promotion, while those with negative impacts can be quickly abandoned. To improve your company’s standing, consider the following ideas:

  • Employ transparent and ethical business practices that you can demonstrate to your consumers and stakeholders; this could be the introduction of more open communications about your processes, clarity in quotes and invoicing and top-down examples of a more moral ethos for everyone to follow.
  • Commit to sustainability initiatives in as many areas as you can, such as having recycling bins throughout your office; energy saving by making sure all the lights are turned off at the end of the day; and employing the use of environmentally-friendly materials, both in your offices and in any manufacturing or retail outlets you might have
  • Make more of a difference by committing a percentage of profits to a charity and even matching employee donations to collaborate as a team. You could even start your foundation that could provide support and care in an area that affects your community

Remember that whatever you choose to do to improve your CSR function, it needs to link with your overall mission and values.

If you are looking for more inspiration on which companies are excelling at corporate social responsibility, the Reputation Institute (RI), a Boston-based reputation-management consulting firm compiled a list of the top ten in the world in 2017. “It tracks social responsibility reputations by zeroing in on consumers’ perceptions of company governance, positive influence on society and treatment of employees, scoring each with its proprietary RepTrak Pulse system.” They are, in order:

It would certainly be hard for anyone to deny the profitability of these organizations, some of which has occurred as a direct result of their CSR programs; so what are you waiting for?


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