The relationship between business and philanthropy is often understood as a binary. Perhaps businesses can be supportive of noble causes, conventional wisdom says, but what’s good for the corporate goose can’t possibly be good for the charitable gander. Today, however, bridging the perceived gap between business and philanthropy is possible by practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR). And while it can bestow a number of ethical and reputational advantages, practicing CSR can actually help businesses to thrive by inspiring employees and attracting new talent. If it sounds too good to be true, take a look at how CSR can help your community as well as your workforce.
The benefits of engaged employees speak for themselves. A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) noted engaged employees “put in 57% more effort on the job… and are 87% less likely to resign” compared to disengaged employees; other advantages of high engagement include less employee turnover, fewer safety or quality assurance issues, and productivity increases of up to 22%.
CSR can unlock these benefits in employees: According to the PwC report, participation in CSR provides employees an opportunity to “express their passions and goals” and thus connect their personal interests with the organizational goals and values of the business. This new level of interaction spurs employees to be more engaged with the business and their work. As a result, practicing CSR can open the floodgates of employee engagement—and, of course, help make a difference in society.
By 2025, millennials will account for one-in-three American adults and 75% of the domestic workforce. Business leaders will need to implement new strategies to attract members of this generation, and one of the most effective outreach initiatives is CSR. In a study of millennials, 80% of respondents said that they wanted work for a company that cares about its effects on society and over 50% said they would not work for an “irresponsible corporation.” In addition, another study found millennial students would take a 15%-salary reduction in exchange for “a job committed to corporate and environmental responsibility.”
Millennials are looking for more than just a paycheck and vacation time from their employer, so leaders can respond with CSR offerings. Demonstrating dedication to CSR will help businesses attract the best and brightest millennial minds. In the future of talent outreach and recruitment, a business’ primary competitive advantage could be having a philanthropic edge.