Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happier Employees are More Productive: How Corporate Social Responsibility Contributes

More companies are recognizing that having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy and activities is not only about creating a favourable public image but is a key component in candidate recruiting & employee retention.  Starting in 2009, the 50 Best Employers in Canada Survey (by Hewitt Associates) included CSR as a factor affecting employee engagement. “According to Hewitt, the higher the overall level of engagement, the more your staff will:  Consistently say positive things about your organization; Intend to stay with your organization; Strive to achieve above and beyond what is expected in their daily role.” In summary, happy employees are more productive. Additionally, employees who are happy at work will share their excitement and build up your employment brand. This helps you recruit other great employees. It’s a simple Win-Win.

There is no one definition for CSR activities but it generally includes the integration of economic, environmental and social activities. The goal is to embrace responsibility of a company’s actions and encourage positive impacts.  Investing in social responsibility not only creates happy employees but can improve your bottom line as engaged employees will work harder.  The interesting thing is most studies show that the importance of CSR is not limited to one generation but affects ALL of your employees.

Similarly to the Hewitt Best Places to work survey, a report by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) on CSR activities states that “investments in CSR programs boost employee satisfaction, retention and loyalty.” The report polled 2,215 workers globally and found that employers want to be proud of their company and if they were proud, they were eager to discuss the positive deeds of their company with others. Thus, within your CSR plan, a communication strategy is also very important. This empowers your employees to act as ambassadors for your company and build up your employment brand.  Train those involved in CSR activities on your communication strategy and ensure to use social media platforms like a blog, Facebook & Twitter to ensure the messages go viral. Potential employees want to hear what their future colleagues think of the company versus PR messaging. What better way to show how great your organization is than share how you give back to your community? Retweeting tweets of employees volunteering, having those involved in CSR activities write blog posts for your website, sharing photos of employees volunteering or highlighting your green efforts online are important to gain value from your CSR activities for recruiting new candidates. Ensure your website features your CSR activities and messaging from your employees as candidates today want to know that their perspective employer cares – for its people, environment and community. 

Here are some of the things that I think are important to consider as you build out your CSR policy:
-     Poll and engage your employees in the process to understand what social activities mean something to them; they are likely more interested if they help design the direction of your CSR policy
-     Consider allowing employees to volunteer their time during company hours
-     Create committees internally to own the pillars of your CSR implementation; empower your team
-     Design Key Performance Indicators to measure your CSR 
-     Provide company updates regularly as part of your internal communication strategy.
-     Ensure your communication strategy considers using multiple platforms and update your website to showcase your CSR activities to support your recruiting initiatives
-     Evaluate and update your CSR policy regularly

Having a CSR doesn’t only make business sense but it will pay out in recruiting, retention & employee productivity. After all, isn’t every company after happier and more productive employees?

Good article about Hewitt Associates Employee Engagement Study:
Learn more about the CCL report at:

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