How being a good corporate citizen can help your community, society, the environment and your recruitment
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it’s that new-fangled term that you’ve heard being mentioned from time to time. It’s a fad that like all others will eventually fade away, right? Wrong! We are two decades into the new millennium and people are more socially and environmentally aware than ever before; if you haven’t sat up and taken notice yet, it is time you did.
So, you ask, what is Corporate Social Responsibility and why should my company care? CSR is not just about being a responsible global citizen, it is about being a good local citizen too. It is about showing that you care about the issues that your customers/clients care about and being proactive in some way, no matter how small, to try and help. People will notice.
What’s in it for me?
Why is it important to your company to act in a more ethical manner? The answer is simple, and it concerns two groups: the people who buy from you and the people who work for you. People are much more likely to purchase their goods or services from businesses that not only share their concerns on certain issues but act on them. They are less likely to entertain a company’s products or services if they have effectively ignored the opportunity to do good or stand for issues that offend or run contrary to the beliefs of the customer/client.
Businesses are waking up to the fact that CSR is good for them because to ignore it is to see profits affected by buyers being put off by their unethical practices. This may seem mercenary but doing good for selfish reasons is still doing good.
Equally, people are much more likely to want to work for a company that shares their beliefs and can be seen to have a moral compass and be guided by it.
This is an important point, not just in this article but in the future of the planet. Who would you rather work for: a company that does all it can to create a smaller and less significant carbon footprint, or a company that poisons the land we walk on, the water we drink and the air that we breathe? Being socially responsible builds your brand image and will put a huge plus mark next to your company’s name in the eyes of potential recruits as they look through the list of options for their next career move. You want the best? Well, so do they!
How do I save the world?
It’s not all about the environment though. Yes, it is a good idea to reduce your carbon footprint, but there are other ways to become a socially responsible organisation. To begin with, start small: look around your local community and see how you can make a difference there; not just by helping but by actually becoming a part of it. What local charities in your area can you donate to? Consider volunteering your time, resources and expertise. You’d be surprised just how much good will can be built up by offering something valuable and expecting nothing in return.
Another good idea is to always deal with ethical organisations. This is especially important to those who outsource internationally. Many places around the world don’t enjoy the same labour protection mechanisms that we take for granted and there are far too many instances of workforce exploitation coming to light. As much as you can, deal only with companies who treat their staff as you would treat yours.
Where do I start?
It is important that this is not just an outward change in strategy but a complete cultural shift that everyone who works for your company buys into. Only then can it be effective. All new recruits should be educated in social responsibility as part of their induction and on-site training. They should buy in as early as possible and carry it forward, being mindful of this culture in everything they do so everyone is pulling in the same direction.
The effect of your company showing leadership and being a major social and environmental influencer will give your brand an unprecedented boost. This more than offsets any financial cost you believe you may incur forcing through this change. All the same you may be thinking of your bank balance first and so you should, but remember: making significant moves such as using less energy and cutting down on packaging, for instance, will reduce costs so you are saving money while saving the environment. Everyone’s a winner!
As L.W. Lynett from IBM once said: “The most effective way to cope with change is to help create it.”
Right I’m in, who’s with me?
The biggest multinationals are coming to realise the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility and are actively bringing change, not just to their business practices but to the world around them. This gives them an edge over competitors slower on the uptake of this Important message when it comes to recruiting the very best in their field who share their vision of a better future.
How do we know this? Recruitive designs and builds bespoke recruitment websites with class-leading recruitment software for some of the largest and most recognisable names across a range of industries and, when it comes to recruitment, we know what we’re talking about.