Many companies have thrown around the words corporate social responsibility lately. The concept isn’t unheard of, but it’s only recently when it started to gain ample traction in the last decade. Indeed, with social and environmental issues coming to light—thanks to the internet— companies are vowing to make a change by giving back.
For short, corporate social responsibility (CSR for short) makes a company socially accountable to its community. By fulfilling their CSR—a.k.a., corporate citizenship—companies can be aware of the kind of impact they are leaving on society and all its aspects, such as environmental, social, and economic.
CSR in All Scales
CSR can be as small as saving energy or as grand as sending children worldwide to school. One example of a typical CSR is what Coca-Cola started in 2010. They launched the 5by20 initiative, which aimed to empower women across the globe. To date, 5by20 has reached over 6 million women entrepreneurs, who have been given access to business skills training, financial services, peer networks, and other resources.
A company isn’t required by law to fulfill a CSR. But most companies practice it nonetheless because of the marketing benefits. Consumers prefer brands that support the same issues, so they are willing to spend more money on those brands. But that’s not all that companies enjoy. More importantly, CSR impacts their employees and the business itself.
CSR’s Impact on Talent Acquisition and Retention
Socially responsible companies tend to attract employees eager to change the world. With such employees in your company, your talent pool will grow, and you’ll find strength in numbers. In addition, since your employees share your company’s values, you can bring the collective effort to the table.
This is all proven in a University of Vermont study. It had shown that candidates were drawn to companies with employee volunteering programs. The study cited three reasons for such, namely anticipated pride for being part of a socially responsible company, the perception of how their values would fit with the company, and the expectations about the treatment they’d receive from the company.
Companies that fit those standards boost workplace morale. In turn, they face lower turnover rates. If they’d hire more employees, it’s not because they’re losing talent. Instead, they need more of it because business is booming. The company will steadily grow, and the culture will stay healthy because the team is united in cause and goals.
Impact on Productivity
Volunteer programs, in particular, can increase employee productivity. A Harvard Business Review study has found that the more people volunteered, the better they performed on work tasks. In addition, it showed that volunteers tended to be better employees, meaning they helped others, shared ideas, and so on.
There’s just one challenge in starting volunteer programs, though: encouraging employees to participate. While employees would love to give back, not all volunteer programs appeal to them. Especially today, with a pandemic disrupting operations are usually done face to face. A company that plans to build low-cost housing, for example, may not get the support of their employees if they tell them attendance is required for the groundbreaking and feeding program.
Furthermore, volunteer activities that don’t fit the company size, culture, expectations from customers, and brand image don’t run successfully. You can’t volunteer in a farm sanctuary if you sell livestock, for instance. Hence, volunteer programs should be planned with those factors in mind to ensure their success.
Thankfully, companies can use technology to come up with appropriate volunteer programs. A reputable CSR volunteering company can help them. Such is a company that provides an online platform for all things CSR. The platform can help companies look for NGOs, create campaigns, and track donations. A volunteer program planned this thoroughly can hit targets and effectively change lives.
Impact on Brand Image
Lastly, CSR also leaves an impact on brand image. Tesla, for example, successfully attracted eco-conscious consumers by releasing electric-powered cars and green automotive products. Starbucks nailed their CSR, too, when they shared their goals for 2021, which was to hire more veterans and refugees. They also tapped into the eco-conscious market by reducing the carbon footprint of their cups and engaging their employees in environmental leadership.
Starbucks’ response to the pandemic also boosted its brand image. The company vowed to prioritize the health of its customers and employees, support health and government officials, and employ responsible and positive actions.
Overall, CSR benefits companies as much as it helps the community. Hence, even it’s completely voluntary, companies spend their resources to fulfill it. And all they have gotten in return are happier customers, motivated employees, and an enriched community.