With the ever-increasing ease of accessing information online, many people won’t make a purchase or choose a restaurant without doing research first. This mentality holds true today when candidates are assessing employers. So it comes as no surprise that an organization’s commitment to being socially responsible plays an increasingly large part in their ability to attract top talent.
In WilsonHCG's most recent employment branding report, we evaluated the brands of Fortune 500 companies and analyzed the various components that make up a strong brand. Some may believe that employment branding only deals with fancy recruitment marketing tactics and strong Glassdoor reviews, but this is not the case. One category that the report showed was really critical in having a successful employment brand is corporate social responsibility (CSR). This phrase may sound like a buzzword; however, the importance of a strong CSR strategy cannot be overlooked.
Having a strong CSR strategy is an important part of building a well-rounded employment brand that will attract top talent, particularly millennials. According to a 2014 survey by Nielsen, 67% of respondents prefer to work for a socially responsible company. When you consider that this group will make up 50 percent of the workforce by 2020, it’s clear that organizations need to make CSR programs a priority if they want to stay competitive.
Having strong CSR initiatives in place are important when it comes to attracting top talent, and they also play a large part in engagement and retention of current employees, which studies have shown to be a critical factor in a company’s success. It may seem like somewhat of a daunting task to put CSR ideas in place. However, there are many simple yet effective ways that you can show candidates and employees that your company is committed to giving back, including:
Dress for the cause
Here at WilsonHCG, employees are encouraged to wear red in February to support the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign, and later this month, all employees will be encouraged to wear pink to raise awareness about breast cancer. These types of activities will demonstrate CSR in your company, especially if you have the executive leadership team participate as well. Also, encouraging employees to post pictures of themselves dressed in the color on social media can be a fantastic way to create content for employment branding while simultaneously increasing awareness for the cause.
Implementing veteran and diversity programs
At our company, we have employee-led committees that focus on both veteran and diversity and inclusion recruitment. CSR initiatives like this foster engagement with employees, give employees a meaningful way to give back to society, and also create opportunities for leadership outside of their current job functions — something many employees want! Additionally, it’s a great way for employees to contribute to something that hits close to home, such as how our veteran employees participate in Operation Transition.
Encouraging employees to donate money to a good cause helps encourage engagement by fostering the mentality of what can be accomplished when everyone is working toward a common goal. However, when the leadership of an organization takes steps to “put their money where their mouth is” and do things like match employee donations, it shows employees that their employer takes CSR seriously, further increasing employee engagement.
Give employees time to volunteer
At WilsonHCG, employees are given a day of PTO (paid time off) that they can use during the holiday season to volunteer at a charitable organization of their choosing. Offering time off that can be used to do community service is a great way for an organization to show their employees they are truly committed to CSR. In addition, this also demonstrates that an organization prioritizes work-life balance, which further encourages employee engagement.
Putting CSR initiatives in place at your organization is an important part of creating a more dynamic culture that encourages engagement and leads to long-term employee retention. As these initiatives take root, not only will they have a positive impact on your current workforce, but they will also generate quality content that can be used to boost your employment brand, leading to a stronger ability to attract top talent in today’s competitive market.
See which Fortune 500 companies ranked best in 2016 for their corporate social responsibility programs and what you can do to ensure your CSR strategies are top notch!