It has been no less of a challenge to provide a meaningful working experience to employees in this day and age of automation. It has increasingly become important that people in an organization have meaningfulness in the work they do, the people they work for and a sense of purpose attached to their lives. Corporate Social Responsibility essentially is an institute or an organization’s initiative to assess and take responsibility for the effects/ impact good or bad created as a result of all the actions taken up by an organization focusing on social and environmental well-being.
By integrating the social, economic and environmental improvement it gives a holistic and sound impression of an organization and also helps its employees to be part of a greater cause. Research shows that those companies that implement CSR practices successfully are known to have positive employee relations including recruitments, employee morale, engagement and productivity. It is important that CSR initiatives focus on employee giving, community partnerships, local involvement, philanthropy and volunteerism. Volunteerism is known to improve a given individual’s psychological well-being and this can only lead to employees feeling happier and a sense of pride in the work they do.
Most large companies demonstrate their commitment by sponsoring for events and donating the large sum of amount. However, this does not bring out the true spirit of volunteerism. It is in the involvement at the grassroots level that empowers employees and also exposes them to different experiences and realities. It is this experience that is priceless and makes it worthwhile for the company to go the extra mile to facilitate CSR events and activities.
CSR activities provide a platform for developing numerous skills of the employees in a rather non-judgmental fashion. This is a great way to build people skills, leadership skills and organizational skills. CSR initiatives must be employee driven and lead by employees with minimum involvement of managers. With this sort of an environment, it opens up opportunities to showcase initiative and innovation. It poses problem-solving situations and thereby becomes a platform to unlearn and relearn and foster more progressive attitudes which definitely spills over to work-related matters as well.
CSR activities generate a lot of positive feelings among employees which then results in a positive work environment leading to a highly positive work culture - a prerequisite for talent retention and attraction. Therefore ensuring that companies have a strong CSR programme can be significant in not only motivating employees but also to show up at work with a real sense of purpose. This has also shown to have a competitive advantage over other organizations and will extend loyalties to not just employees but also customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.
As part of the human species, all that we ever wanted was to have a sense of purpose, to bring about a positive impact to the place we are living in. CSR involvement enables individuals to do so in a collaborative manner yielding fruits for employees, organization and the business in its entirety. According to the managing director of corporate citizenship of Deloitte, Douglas Marshall, 70 % of the millennials decision to work for an organization was dependant on the fact whether they undertook corporate social responsibility programs.
According to a CECP led ‘Giving in numbers’ study that focuses on corporate social strategies, it was found that the role of employees in CSR is on the rise. Organizations are more and more focusing on their social strategy in order to attract and retain purpose oriented employees who are known to be a lot more productive in the workplace. Purpose oriented individuals are known to have 20% longer tenure, 50% higher chances to take up a leadership position, 47% more likely to advocate the causes of the company and 64% more likely to have a fulfilled career. 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer states that 80% of the public feels that business can increase its profits while parallelly improving the societal and economic conditions of the community within which it operates.
Leaders play a huge role in driving the CSR programs and being the inspirational figure that all employees can look up to so that they can take initiatives in the upcoming projects. The top leadership needs to recognize and understand the value of driving a sense of purpose. More leaders are acknowledging the relationship between health and happiness which is said to improve as a result of leading a meaningful life. Happy workers are 12% more productive as opposed to those who aren’t happy. Big corporations are ensuring that skill-based volunteering and pro bono services are provided by the employees which a significant impact in the projects taken up by employees, thereby having a positive trend in the level of job satisfaction among employees.
Millennials are comprising most of today’s working population and they are also the most socially conscious generation ever to have existed according to a 2006 Cone study on the Millennial Generation. It is safe to say that volunteerism, community engagement and philanthropic efforts are aspects that are heavily assessed and taken into consideration to understand the probable value system a given organization contains and nurtures. A culture that is focused on CSR and service is only going to become a way of one’s work life increasingly if an organization wishes to have a happy, healthy and purposeful workforce. Businesses worried about the cost of implementing this should recognize how it can deliver true win-wins, engaging and improving brand reputation among external and internal stakeholders, contributing to the development of employees and ensuring they are proud of the company they work for and motivated to perform at their best.
1 http://cecp.co/home/resources/giving-in-numbers/ 2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/06/07/the-future-of-work-corporate-social-responsiblity-attracts-top-talent/2/#2cf34dab40bc
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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