Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important to employees and consumers, and even big names like Coca-Cola and Alphabet are stepping up. Surveys show that 64% of millennials refuse to work if the company doesn't have strong CSR values. Additionally, 75% of employees expect their employer to take a stand on relevant social issues.
Company advocacy works, and satisfying stakeholders with CSR programs can ultimately increase the market value of a company by up to 6% over a 15-year period. If you want to get started with your own company's CSR program, below are five important details to consider first.
Tokenism versus Authenticity
In 2018, an Australian airline offered priority boarding service to Armed Forces veterans by recognizing them on flights. However, the airline overlooked initial consultations with veterans, and the initiative was criticized by many as capitalizing on what many termed as ‘tokenistic’ CSR.
To avoid this, companies must thoroughly understand a social impact initiative that aligns with an existing business interest. This means genuine consultations with experts and affected populations are a must.
Stands on social issues should also go beyond the expectations of legal requirements. Lobbying transparency must be the beginning of CSR and this has been a growing demand from Transnational corporations (TNCs) since the 1990s. While this doesn't guarantee the alignment of firms' CSR and public policy activity, it's an important starting point for communicating authenticity and facilitating dialogue between TNCs and their key stakeholders.
Create a business code of ethics
To help stay on the right track and ensure consistency, a code of ethics is essential for businesses to communicate the company's philosophy to employees, clients, and the public. Use your firm’s mission and vision statement as a basis, and make sure to solicit input from employees.
Engaging employees in the development of your code of ethics simultaneously increases the relevance of your document and its value to employees. This encourages employees to follow this code because they rightfully feel like they have a part in developing it.
Consider external relations
In 2007, insurance company Swiss Re was approached by NGO Oxfam, to request insurance for Ethiopian farmers’ crops against climate change. Despite their differences, the partnership successfully took off. This is just one example of how companies can foster strong relationships with NGOs.
Studies have shown how collaboration can increase market value 40-80% higher than competitors. To get started, making the distinction between NGOs and nonprofits allows your targeted partnership to identify mutual values. Both play an influential role in local and global affairs but can have different approaches. For one, nonprofits tend to be smaller and locally based, as opposed to NGOs that have reach across political and geographic landscapes.
Assess your company’s code of ethics, as well as business strategies, to effectively decide which partnership would best provide reciprocal benefits to the organization and the cause.
Authentic brand ambassadors
Beyond CEOs, research shows that customers are 30% more likely to trust an employee’s say on programs addressing societal issues. Allowing employees to serve as brand ambassadors doesn’t just enable good customer communications, but also fosters good employee communications.
Leading businesses like Campbell allow employees to use internal platforms like Workplace by Facebook to share purpose-inspired stories. This has steadily built trust through transparency and feels more authentic to audiences.
Create volunteering opportunities
Look into a variety of volunteer opportunities by partnering with virtual platforms that have already associated with nonprofits such as Chezuba. With accurate program planning, a good employee volunteer program connects employees with causes they genuinely care about while simultaneously solving company and community challenges.
This can boost employee morale, increase brand reputation, and encourage others to volunteer. That is why Chezuba’s all-inclusive technology helps corporations create their CSR programs to correspond to specific needs and measure employee engagement strategies. At the end of a solid CSR program, the volunteer experience acquired only serves to benefit the business, employees, clients, and the public good.