As we discussed in an earlier blog post, corporate social responsibility (CSR) matters to consumers. But your clients and customers aren’t the only folks who notice your company’s efforts.
Far from it. CSR has become a crucial factor in how you’re assessed by another key group: your current and future workforce. Just like consumers, talented employees and prospective employees must choose from a massive array of companies with whom to place their trust and spend their time. While you’re looking at their resume, they’re looking at yours.
Millennials and Social Responsibility
Your CSR portfolio is of particular importance to young employees currently entering the workforce or looking for the right place to land, according to Joe Pagano, Positive Adventures general manager. “Millennials used to ask, does your company give back? Now they ask how does your company give back?” he says. “It’s a given that to attract purpose-driven, high-quality employees there’s not really a choice anymore. It’s not only a feel good thing — it’s about attracting and retaining talent.
As CEO Jeff Swartz explains in this Forbes article, he views CSR as key to building meaningful relationships with employees that in turn lead to the money-saving, talent-retaining benefits of low turnover.
At some companies, hiring managers actively seek out employees with a strong CSR compass to ensure that new hires will bolster the company’s social ethics. “Interviewers will ask candidates, what is your purpose? What do you care about beyond work?” Pagano says.
A recent report of 1,700 respondents, nearly half of whom were millennials, showed just how important CSR is to employees: Some will choose to work for lower pay at a company whose environmental and social philosophy and actions they respect, and their job-satisfaction will be higher because of it. Even with the smaller paycheck, those employees will be twice as happy for choosing their employer based on CSR, the report says.
CSR Examples: How to Integrate CSR Into Your Company Culture
Opportunities for initiatives exist nearly anywhere you look, geographically or in terms of social and environmental issues. And getting involved can mean a simple integration of CSR projects into normal operations at company headquarters or anywhere employees are gathered.
For instance, during conferences. Even when dollars and time are constrained, conferences offer opportunities for many employees to make a large contribution in a short time. Though CSR-development companies including Positive Adventures offer a wide range of options, effective programming can take place in small time windows. Positive Adventures’ food pack-outs, for example, can be tailored to add a competitive and meaningful element to cocktail receptions. Teams of employees work together to pack drawstring bags full of two-day’s worth of pre-selected food items. Once filled, the backpacks go to a distribution network that passes them along to food-insecure students who may not otherwise get enough food between Friday and Monday school lunches.
Whether for a food and beverage company who views hunger as a core issue, or any organization hoping to make a dent, food pack-outs offer a quick, effective way to contribute. “Many companies choose to take part in these types of programs because children’s hunger, even in our country, is such an issue”, Pagano says.
Similarly, Positive Adventures’ bike-building programs can take place in a ballroom during short conference-schedule windows. Once broken into teams, employees compete in games and trivia that earn them bicycle parts and tools. When fully assembled, the bicycles can go to children whose families may not otherwise be able to afford a bike.
“When a company is new to giving back, that’s a good way to get them into CSR,” Pagano says. “It’s tangible, it’s very simple, quick and impactful.”
Whatever you choose, don’t lose the opportunity for your company to likewise always be on the receiving end of CSR’s team-building, job-satisfaction boosting benefits. “Anyone can go to a store and buy some bikes,” Pagano says. “The reason you hire a team-building company is because they’re trained to tie these programs into real life situations. When they’re over, we debrief the teams in how they worked and who took charge. If there were any issues or something didn’t work out, we figure out how to solve the problem next time.”