Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means different things to different people; while some may see it as spending an afternoon volunteering for a charity as a team, others may choose to establish a longer term strategic alliance with a charitable organisation close to their heart.
Whatever the case, it is becoming increasingly common for organisations to participate in CSR related activities, whether it’s on a companywide level, or a more case by case level with individual team participation or donations. While the prospect of helping those less fortunate is the obvious benefit of engaging in CSR activities, there are a plethora of benefits to be gained from being a socially responsible corporation besides the ‘warm and fuzzies’. So what’s in it for you?
Positive Corporate Profile
The most obvious benefit that comes from engaging in CSR is the positive effect it has on your brand. Certain brands are often synonymous with the charitable partners they support; when one thinks of the Ronald McDonald House Charities, it’s impossible to not think of McDonalds. Organisations that are known for their charitable activities reap the benefits of being good corporate citizens, and with the proliferation of products designed for the ethically conscious – rainforest certified coffee, recycled goods and the boycott of clothes produced in sweat shops being but a few – being perceived to care about society is crucial to building positive brand associations and attracting the right people to work for you and acquiring the right customers that want to buy from you.
The benefits of a socially conscious brand image are many, but studies have shown that organisations who participate in CSR initiatives actively improve their staff retention. A study into the influence of CSR on employees found that half of workers surveyed would be more likely to continue employment with an organisation who offered the chance to raise money or donate time for charities during working hours.
While not all employees place the same level of importance on CSR, the vast majority will be positively influenced simply by working for an organisation that plays a part in the betterment of society. Communicating your organisation’s commitment to CSR in staff newsletters, on your website and in future job ads gives added purpose to working for your organisation.
Staffs who are given the opportunity to participate in CSR activities such as group volunteering, CSR committee meetings and charity drives are also given the chance to mix with colleagues they may otherwise have little to do with, which helps create a more cohesive team culture. Individuals who are socially stimulated are happier and more productive employees, and so the relationships that staff can build with those they are helping can be of tremendous effect. Offering assistance to a school, volunteering at a soup kitchen or building networks at partnering charities can provide a whole new way for staff to meet people.
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