Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined as a company's external actions and their benefit to broader society. Many businesses now realise that a good CSR policy can work hand-in-hand with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion () to also create internal benefits for an organisation and, most notably, the engagement and wellbeing of its employees.
CSR is a type of self-regulation for businesses where policies are created to impact the world positively. Companies then hold themselves accountable for implementing their CSR policies, which can benefit society and help improve brand image. This, in turn, can help attract customers and investors, who are increasingly conscious of ensuring their money is funding ethical business practices.
Some common types of CSR include; employee volunteering initiatives - where staff are given time off during work hours to help with community projects, charitable donations in the form of money or products, environmental sustainability such as reducing a company's carbon footprint, and supply chain awareness whereby businesses ensure that the goods and services provided to them by third parties do not participate in unethical practices like modern slavery.
People are becoming increasingly socially conscious, and many employees now place high importance on working for businesses that give something back to society and take an active role in protecting the planet. shows that 82% of millennials consider CSR efforts when deciding where to work, with 70% willing to take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. Considering that around 75% of the average workforce comprises millennials and Gen Z staff, it's easy to see why there is an internal benefit to having a firm CSR policy.
A clear advantage for recruitment, CSR can also significantly impact retention and employee engagement and wellbeing. The research study showed that 74% of those asked said their job is more fulfilling when they can positively contribute to social and environmental issues. Companies whose workforces are actively engaged in volunteering and giving programmes stated that they had seen a 57% reduction in staff turnover.
Another benefit to both employees and organisations is the development of talent. Staff can increase their skill set and gain leadership experience through volunteering initiatives. When attracting top professionals can prove tricky, developing your team can be invaluable to succession planning and combating staff shortages.
Finally, companies looking to improve or maintain diversity can use CSR community volunteering and giving initiatives to raise their profile in particular social groups, for instance, . Volunteering and giving are areas where D,E&I and CSR can complement each other. Volunteering in local community projects with specific minority groups can help combat and promote the inclusivity credentials of a company and therefore attract people from these diverse social groups to work for them. It also helps to support staff within the business from those communities, as they are more likely to feel valued if they see their company taking an active role in supporting their sector of society. This can improve the engagement, mental health and wellbeing of those employees and increase feelings of job satisfaction.
The evidence suggests that CSR, D,E&I and Mental Wellbeing are becoming increasingly linked, and rather than fighting for budget and resources, companies who recognise the benefits of having a joined-up approach between HR and governance are likely to attract and retain talent in a way that other companies may not. As the continues, it looks like CSR will play an increasingly important role in employee engagement and affect the companies that candidates choose to work for.