With an increasing number of Baby Boomers retiring, and the relatively low number of Gen Xers in the workforce, employers will soon need to depend on Millennials to fill leadership gaps. According to Forbes, by 2025 Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce and their characteristic pro social attitudes will become a standard part of corporate culture. One of the key ways that some businesses are already showcasing progressive attitudes is through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
CSR is an organizational policy that seeks to use some portion of corporate resources to benefit others. It can take the form of external oversight placed on a company by governments or regulatory agencies. But it can also be internal initiatives set to encourage employee engagement, donating to charitable organizations and volunteering. Although these pro-social efforts may seem like a financial drain on your business they can also have positive effects on the bottom line.
Unlike previous generations, Millennials want a work-life balance that allows them to engage with the world in meaningful and impactful ways. While that may sound like an unrealistic aspiration, there are real-world business benefits for making your work environment a priority.
Benevity–a Canadian-based company dedicated to cultivating CSR–has created innovative tools for giving that have been adopted by tech corporations like Google, Apple and Oracle. According to Benevity, in highly-competitive industries, early adopters of CSR are able to use it as “a cultural and competitive differentiator.”
Similarly, a 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey found that 89% of job seekers believe that companies with unique volunteer opportunities would have better working environments than those who do not. Companies that recognize and foster a giving culture will be able to stand out from their competition when it comes time to secure top talent.
According to a study by Benevity, companies who encourage a pro-social work culture see real benefits to their business. The turnover rate for employees who engage in in corporate giving and volunteering programs is 57% lower than for employees who do not engage—which could easily translate into tens of thousands of dollars each year.
Along with the shifting attitudes of the workforce, consumers are also looking for deeper values in the products and companies they buy from.
According to a Cone Communications CSR study, 87% of consumers will change brands or buy a product based on their association with a cause they care about. 76% will refuse to buy a product if it goes against their beliefs. Having a social responsibility initiative can positively impact public perception of a company’s image and reputation which contributes to their visibility in the public sphere.
In an article published in The Globe and Mail, Cary Selby, CPA, CA, managing partner of Richter LLP shares his observations on the impact of having a volunteerism program and how contributing a full day once a year can be an invaluable way to build rapport among employees. “At the Daily Bread Food Bank, I saw a real sense of contribution and collaboration from my colleagues on the line; a tangible positive. I saw senior partners, some of whom have worked at the company for 25 years, bonding with new employees, some who hadn’t yet worked for 25 days.” Creating a space for positive contribution through volunteering also serves as a built-in team building opportunity. It can help foster stronger relationships with colleagues, enhance a sense of purpose and meaning, and can even provide a way for employees to showcase untapped skills and abilities.
There are many benefits for companies who are thinking about partnering with a charitable organization or promoting a volunteer cause in the workplace. It can be as simple as reaching out to local schools, donating through workplace fundraising, sponsoring organized volunteer days or even joining volunteer opportunities already in place, such as providing a team of volunteers to help run a local fundraising charity event. It doesn’t need to be complicated to create employee engagement and have a positive influence on the workplace.