2 minute read

Most companies recognize the value of being a good corporate citizen and commit to corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities through volunteer programs, corporate and employee giving, environmental initiatives and a commitment to ethical labor practices. The smartest companies are those that also use CSR programs as an opportunity to enhance employee engagement, recognizing the two areas are highly interconnected.

But it’s critically important for organizations to approach CSR in an authentic way that closely aligns with the company’s objectives, culture and values. And the stakes are higher than ever to get it right.

Here are three reasons to re-examine your CSR efforts:

You Can’t Fool Anybody

Most people can tell the difference between a company that genuinely cares and one that is only socially responsible for outward appearances – today more than ever, organizations are being called out and taken to task by the public and employees alike for inauthentic or “performative” efforts. Hold your CSR strategy up to company values with a critical eye – because your stakeholders are doing the same.   

CSR Efforts Impact Your Talent Competitiveness

The talent pool is shrinking, and employees have higher expectations for purpose and social responsibility in their employer. Millennials and Gen Z are dominating the workforce, and they come with their own ideas of what is important. More than three-quarters of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work – sometimes even above pay. Make no mistake – your CSR initiatives can and do impact your ability to competitively recruit a top-notch workforce. Consider how your current program is helping or hindering your talent acquisition efforts.

Engagement is Closely Intertwined

Among other markers, engaged employees are typically able to connect their work with a higher purpose, so if you have an engagement problem, one of the factors could be that your CSR efforts don’t resonate with your workforce. Engagement trends are improving, but with only about a third of U.S. workers truly engaged, it’s clear that many organizations continue to struggle with this on some level. It’s important to authentically embed CSR into company culture if you hope to improve employee engagement. 

But how do you do this? In our next post, we’ll share best practices for making CSR programs real and “livable” for employees by aligning priorities to employee mindsets, behaviors, expectations, opportunities, performance evaluations, and other culture factors.

Want to learn more about how an authentic Corporate Social Responsibility program can help you better engage employees? Contact Katherine Coble, Borshoff partner to get started.