As the world evolves at the fastest rate in history, business leaders realise they need to change just as quickly to keep up or, even better, move ahead of the times. One area that is constantly in the mind, decisions and behaviours of many of today’s successful leaders is corporate social responsibility or more commonly referred to as its acronym, CSR.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is essentially a self-regulating business model that helps businesses be more conscious of the impact they are having on the world around them. Obviously, this will mean something a little different to each business depending on multiple factors such as industry and resources, but generally it will focus on areas such as environmental, economic and social impact.
No longer is CSR just about being a good corporate citizen, it underpins what a company stands for and directs its path for success. When an organization adopts and deploys a corporate social responsibility programme, there are significant benefits for the wider community, the workplace and the business at large… It’s a win, win, win!
These businesses rank ‘making a difference’ just as highly as ‘making money’. And they all realise that for our world to remain sustainable, their businesses need a distinct purpose to better the society for which we live. Millennials are particularly principled, with some studies suggesting they care more about purpose than a pay cheque when it comes to work (Forbes,2020).
That means businesses have an additional reason to develop their own CSR programme — it has a positive impact on their workplace culture. In fact, companies that engage in CSR often benefit from a myriad of benefits that impact their workplace culture including becoming an employer of choice, providing more opportunity for team and personal development, boosted employee engagement and improved employee satisfaction.
Let’s take a closer look…
Employer of choice
Being an employer of choice typically means the company’s ability to attract and retain high calibre staff.
A robust CSR framework can help a company become more attractive as more people look to workplaces that are dedicated to improving their communities through socially responsible practices, community mindedness, team building and sound ethics. A survey conducted by nonprofit Net Impact revealed that many employees would be willing to take a 15% pay cut to work for a more socially responsible organisation.
Furthermore, a company’s CSR initiative has proven to increase staff retention and even shape how an employee sees their own future tied in with the success of the business.
Opportunity for team and personal development
You will find career growth, opportunity and challenge in many articles by industry professionals and scholars as three leading reasons why employees stay with an organisation. Staff like to learn to be better at what they do. The more you upskill staff, the better they will perform for you. Thus, regularly educating and training staff will lead to improved performance and a more positive work culture. CSR activities enable staff to be involved in a cause they are passionate about or learn something new which can enrich their own perspectives.
They can also develop new skills which can often be applied in their work.
These activities can be beneficial for corporate training and also for team building. It is inspiring for people to work together on a project that has a positive outcome for the community.
Engagement is a vital ingredient in creating a positive workplace culture and requires an attentive focus and an active willingness to work towards the goals of the team. When a business’s CSR effort has a positive impact on the surrounding community, its employees are more likely to align with the company’s goals and strive to mirror values of responsibility in their own daily tasks. Identifying a cause or a way of giving back in consultation with your team will engage, inspire and often bring out passion in your people that you may not have experienced.
Statistics highlight that nearly 60% of employees who are proud of their company’s social responsibility are engaged within their jobs.
We all know the saying, “treat others how you wish to be treated.” The same principal can be used when we say the way a company treats its community says a lot about how a company treats its employees. Employees are inspired to work with a company they respect. By encouraging your employees to identify with your business through workplace giving, you help them feel a sense of belonging that promotes employee satisfaction and retention.
A recent study provided evidence that CSR-oriented actions undertaken by companies will lead to a better organizational image, and this, in turn, will lead to greater employee satisfaction (Barakat, S.R., Isabella, G., Boaventura, J.M.G. and Mazzon, J.A. 2016).
A sound, robust corporate social responsibility programme and mindset can genuinely help organisations deliver public value by focusing on how their services make a difference in the community. CSR programmes are not only extremely beneficial to local and global communities, they will significantly contribute to building your positive fun team culture.
True success comes when you focus on the bigger picture and here, the bigger picture isn’t just about the bottom line — it’s part of it and it’s also about trying to change the world for the better. No matter how you choose to address CSR the important thing is that you are doing something to have a positive impact on the world around you.