By Laura Smith
DISYS, VP of Global HR
As unemployment remains low and talent remains in short supply, it continues to be critical to attract and retain talent. One sustainable way to ensure your organization attracts and retains top talent and clients is through corporate social responsibility programs.
There are a number of considerations and implications to implementing corporate social responsibility that will affect its long-term effectiveness. The definition of CSR often varies on an individual employee basis, at the corporate level and within the staffing industry in particular. A successful program requires a unified approach and shared set of values. Here are some tips to ensure your organization’s path to CSR impact is as smooth as possible.
CSR – it’s about more than words. To successfully launch a CSR program is to first acknowledge that it’s a journey – not a destination. As a company or employee team, you never truly ‘complete’ your CSR process. Instead, it is always evolving and as you achieve certain goals, you’re ready to set new aspirational ones.
It’s also important to recognize that CSR is more than words and aspirations. A successful initiative must instead permeate the values and fabric of the organization at its core in order to engage employees and encourage them to share those goals. With this in mind, at the organizational level, the strategic direction and guidance for CSR initiatives should be the result of a concerted thought process with longevity and growth in mind as opposed to knee-jerk short-term value.
It’s good for business. Gone are the days when organizations can succeed without implementing some sort of CSR program. The truth is, the more multi-generational the modern workforce becomes, the more important a company’s values are. This changing nature also increases the premium placed on how organizations ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to making a difference. The boundaries between work and personal life often blur in our modern workforce, and this results in a strong desire for not just the work/life balance that was a buzzword in decades past. Now, employees crave a ‘life’ balance rooted in giving back and caring about the world outside of the office.
Employees want to know they’re working in an environment that cares about them, the community, and the world – and companies want to work with organizations that do the same.
Shared sense of purpose – a central human need. One of the biggest concerns that often accompanies the decision to execute a CSR program is: how do we ensure employees engage with it? What types of activities will incite participation and interest? The answer is ensuring your program and its initiatives are rooted in a shared sense of purpose that unites and engages both leadership and employee teams.
More than just a ‘nice to have,’ a shared sense of purpose is a key driver to a successful and long-lasting CSR program. That collective passion and desire to reach a common goal taps into a central aspect of our composition as human beings. We are social creatures, and we all have that desire to rally around something that matters to us.
When organizations can combine action, giving back, and the drive to a unified goal, that is when a CSR program becomes more than a flash in the pan and earns a place in the lasting fabric of an organization’s values.
In my next post, I will discuss how companies can create an environment that values inclusivity, diversity and playing a role in the larger community.