‘Tis the Season for Corporate Social Responsibility

Dec 01, 2015

‘Tis the Season for Corporate Social Responsibility

The holiday season often helps us view things from a different, often more thoughtful perspective. Isn't there more to business than the bottom line? Shouldn't consumers feel confident about where products come from, and shouldn't employees take pride in their work? Enter corporate social responsibility, or CSR.

CSR refers to a business practice that involves participating in initiatives that benefit society or the environment. Also known as corporate citizenship, these business practices usually involve efforts that extend beyond basic requirements and regulations.

Different types of CSR include the following:

  • Philanthropic: Whether it involves giving money or time, businesses often have an abundance of resources that can benefit charities—from supporting nonprofits to funding educational initiatives or participating in community projects—many companies seek to give back to the communities that support them. Through philanthropic efforts, businesses improve their own support system and enhance their workforce loyalty.
  • Ethical: Many companies are pursuing the fair and ethical treatment of employees, even those who do not directly work for their organization. Businesses are considering the entire supply chain, especially companies that operate in international locations with lax labor laws. By refusing to purchase from manufacturers that employ child labor or that do not pay at least a minimum wage, corporations are taking a stand for human rights.
  • Environmental: Big businesses are known for leaving large carbon footprints—smoggy air and polluted streams, landfills overflowing with waste, sickened wildlife, and even sickened people. Many corporations are seeking and implementing sustainable practices to become more environmentally friendly to help ensure the safety and beauty of our planet for future generations.

CSR truly benefits everyone and even has a positive impact on employee engagement. Employees want to feel proud of the organization they work for. An employee with a positive attitude toward his or her company is less likely to look for a job elsewhere. Providing employees with the opportunity to be involved in a company's socially responsible activities can have the benefit of teaching new skills to staff, which can in turn be applied in the workplace. By undertaking activities outside of their usual work responsibilities, employees have the chance to contribute to work and causes that they might feel passionate about or learn something entirely new that can help enrich their own viewpoints. By supporting these activities, organizations encourage growth and support for employees. Employees value corporate citizenship efforts so much that if an employer were to cut back on its social responsibility or environmental initiatives, it could negatively impact employee motivation and retention.

The same is true for customers. CSR initiatives improve customers' attitudes toward a company. If a customer likes the company and what the company represents, he or she will buy more products or services and will be less willing to change to another brand. Corporate citizenship strengthens ties, builds alliances, and fosters strong working relationships with both existing and new customers.

CSR can even reduce costs. If it conducts corporate citizenship properly, a company can reduce costs by achieving greater employee retention, implementing energy savings programs, managing potential risks and liabilities more effectively, and spending less on traditional advertising—CSR generates free positive publicity!

Making CSR part of a company's core competencies is truly a win-win situation. Not only do businesses appeal to socially conscious consumers and employees while reaping benefits for themselves, but they also make a real difference in the world. With the holidays upon us, now is an ideal time to consider how your business currently is or potentially could leave a positive lasting impact on humanity.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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