Company social responsibility—also known as corporate social responsibility (CSR)—is increasingly seen as a key element in attracting and retaining employees, particularly those in the millennial generation. Adopting CSR as part of a company's overall strategic goals can mean committing to take measures to reduce or eliminate negative environmental effects that might be caused by its products or services. Viewed in another perspective, an environmentally and socially conscious business may be able to leverage this policy to appeal to a broader customer base and may see a possible uptick in employee recruitment and retention.
Not Just "Window Dressing"
Generally speaking, millennials "don't just look at the job and benefits--they look at the larger organization." A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of millennials found that nearly 60 percent are intentionally looking for employers whose sense of corporate responsibility matches their own. Businesses that have just begun to engage in CSR (or are contemplating becoming more involved) should consider moving strategically in order to reach this young employee pool.
According to online marketing specialist Ivan Widjaya, businesses should keep these CSR policy tips in mind:
- CSR won't work if it's viewed strictly in terms of a public relations tactic,
- Businesses should accept and encourage employee input if the CSR policy is lacking.
- The company's entire management team "should be completely on board and 100 percent committed to all CSR agendas."
Design CSR as part of your strategic business plan in a way that both strengthens the business and contributes to society. In other words, don't approach CSR as "window dressing" (an attractive but superficial presentation) and hope that will be enough to sway millennial job seekers in your favor.
Link CSR to Business Goals and Employee Development
What type of company social responsibility makes sense for a particular business should be determined by its overall strategic objectives. There should be internal consensus on the way CSR will be practiced within the organization.
It may also be an effective component of employee development. With a solid CSR program in place, employees may be permitted to engage in CSR related activities during work hours if their schedules allow for it, and be recognized for their participation in related community or charity events. In the end, a commitment to bettering society and the world should be woven into the fabric of your culture.
What Types of Initiative Make the Most Sense for Your Business?
Business consultant Karen Jones offers these suggestions about promoting CSR in the workplace:
- Make the adoption of environmentally friendly business practices a top priority. Many businesses already recycle materials, employ energy-saving technology in the office/workplace, and produce more eco-friendly and reusable products.
- Survey employees to determine what kinds of employer-sponsored volunteer programs are of the most interest to them. Once this has been determined, provide information to your team about specific charity initiatives related to their interests and work out a way for them to volunteer their skills and services.
- Strive to match your workforce "with projects or tasks that can create meaning and a sense of purpose for your employees," and serve as an example that your business "cares about employees and wants them to succeed."
Let Job Seeker Know About Your Commitment to CSR
Becoming more active in CSR initiatives is worthwhile, but its benefits (in terms of appealing to job candidates) are minimal if you don't promote that commitment. Spread the word about CSR initiatives on all your social media platforms. Include photos and video of your employees participating in community events.
As long as the promotion of CSR initiatives is depicted as an integral part of your company culture--and not as a way to lure millennials to your workplace--you could see a renewed interest in working for your business. And employees who feel fulfilled as a result of participation in CSR initiatives may feel more strongly invested in your company.