Why Corporate Social Responsibility Is Non-Negotiable

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can frequently be viewed as something that’s nice to do when time and budget allows but, as soon as times get tough or turbulent, it’s often first on the chopping block to keep figures in the black.  

As easy as that decision can be, I’m here to tell you how short-sighted this approach is in reality. No company on earth is immune to external factors, and becoming more insular during difficult times only serves to weaken overall operations. The best chance of weathering the storm is by having your ace-team of C-level execs on board steering not just the company, but the community, through to calmer times. In fact, studies have actually found that companies with strong CSR programmes often outperform those without in the stock market. This is because CSR has the power to motivate staff, develop schemes with your local community and demonstrate impact on a global scale. However, to do so it certainly helps to set out some core guidance principles that signpost the path you wish to take as a company, as well as the example your managers can set to nurture a healthy and thriving workplace with CSR.

Checkpoint One: Do your employees love coming to work?

Any organization is only as healthy as the sum of its parts, and if your employees aren’t happy the whole endeavor can soon begin to suffer. Employee satisfaction is integral to attract and retain motivated staff. Whilst basic working standards such as salary rates and working hours must be addressed first, there are many extra steps that can be taken. For instance, even with the dawn of flexible working hours most employees still spend the majority of their working week with colleagues, so if things aren’t going smoothly it’s bound to have an impact. In fact, a OnePoll survey revealed 84 percent of staff agreed that a job can’t be great without great colleagues. CSR schemes can create countless opportunities for colleagues to join forces and do some good, all the while strengthening those bonds of friendship. Every manager knows how tough it can be to attract the right talent. Whilst a proactive recruitment strategy is helpful, public CSR schemes can help those talented potential employees really understand what your organization stands for -- beyond the marketing!

When 88% of millennials prioritize working for companies whose values reflect their own, the benefits of aligning your CSR strategy are crystal clear. Just look to Juul for an example of what happens when recruitment marketing and company values don’t ring true.

Checkpoint Two: Do you promote equality?

A diverse workforce can help understand global customers more clearly, develop innovative ideas and be more resilient to change. Studies have even shown diverse teams to have a direct correlation on profitability. Even so, there are still many inequalities for genders, ethnicities, religions and disabilities in the workplace. The tech sector is definitely not immune - Black, Latino, and Native American women make up only 4% of computing degree recipients and the current tech workforce in the US. Although there are many social factors at play, companies have a responsibility to address diversity issues resting on their shoulders.

Whilst we’re keenly aware that there is much progress still to be made, at intive we believe we can be champions of change and play our part in turning the tide. For example, several recent studies have shown that the role models young women experience are highly influential on their long-term career choices. Because of this, we actively sponsor Economia Feminista - an initiative that strives to showcase the range of disciplines open to women - in an effort to help address gender inequality in the long-term - said Eugenia Laguna, Senior Marketing Manager at intive.

Checkpoint Three: Do you understand the impact of your local footprint?

Assuming you’ve done all you can to create a thriving internal community, these workplace efforts will only go so far if outside factors aren’t taken into consideration. Although the tech sector is a relatively clean industry, every company needs to be aware of their carbon footprint, from the number of flights employees take to the amount of power needed to run the office infrastructure on a daily basis. There are countless schemes that aim to redress the balance and make employees more aware of the impact their daily choices make. WeWork even went so far as to set a meat-free company policy for staff events and expenses. But the environment goes much further than clean water. The health of the economy and community can also be addressed through CSR schemes. Intel have pioneered an approach to combat unfair and illegal labor practices across their entire global supply chain. This directly supports the workers that contribute to their products and ensures reduces risks around the long-term sustainability of their business model.

The Final Piece: Be the change you wish to see

From motivating employees through to delivering a tangible impact on local and global forces, CSR has the potential to benefit business operations in so many ways. The sector has grown significantly in the past two decades, with a majority of Fortune 500 companies now disclosing a CSR or sustainability report. A strong leadership team that demonstrates change and paves the way forward is essential to build momentum with any CSR initiative. However, if there’s still any shadow of a doubt on the benefits of a strong CSR plan for your company, just look to the rise of the progressive consumer globally. Any cutbacks will only go so far to save a company that has lost the faith of its core customer base.

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