"We work day after day, not to finish things; but to make the future better… because we will spend the rest of our lives there" - Charles Kettering
The year 2017 was filled with events and activism around the world that ignited companies to continue to evolve their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. According to Merrill Edge® Report: Spring 2018, 87% of people are more likely to invest in organizations that pay women and men equally. Additionally, investors are not only seeking opportunities based on stock market performance, but they are also seeking opportunities to invest in a better world for our future generations.
More organizations are actively aligning their CSR initiatives with their overall cultural and business objectives because they recognize the added value to their customers, employees, and shareholders.
Here’s how a comprehensive CSR initiative can impact those stakeholders.
Implementing the right CSR can improve an organization’s brand equity. According to Forbes, 87% of Americans will purchase a product made by a company that advocates for an issue they cared about. An adequately timed CSR strategy, with transparent intentions, can have a positive influence on the public’s image of an organization.
For example, after receiving letters from children sharing their ideas for sustainability, LEGO started its Build the Change initiative in 2007. Jennifer DuBuisson, manager of environmental sustainability, stated that LEGO wants to make a positive impact on the world our children will inherit. Over the years, LEGO has become the current world leader in corporate social responsibility by recycling 90% of waste from production sites, improving energy efficiency by 5%, and decreasing their energy usage by 20% over the last five years. LEGO’s CEO, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp says reaching more children is truly what matters to the company and the brand – LEGO is a business with a social mission. Their mission continues to build an image that resonates with children and families across the globe.
An organization’s culture sets the tone for its employees as well as how it’s viewed by the world at large. As millennials become a growing segment of our workforce, the need for CSR strategies continues to grow as well. A recent Forbes article said that in 2017 millennials were becoming even more engaged in philanthropic causes than they were in late 2016. This has required employers to focus on new ways to attract, hire, and retain this demographic.
Salesforce's social responsibility strategies have helped to attract and retain their employees by creating a culture that encompasses equality, sustainability, and giving back. Salesforce has been committed to an Action on Equal Pay and has spent over $8.7 million to adjust salaries of 30,000 global employees to address statistical differences in pay. The foundation of Salesforce’s culture is based on the Hawaiian concept of Ohana, meaning family. Within Salesforce’s Ohana, lives the mission to make equality a reality within their environments in which they live and work. A strong focus on equal rights, equal pay, equal education, and equal opportunity are what drives their mission to support and engage their employees.
Investor Attraction and Retention
Just as millennials value philanthropic work, investors are mirroring the same ideals. The results of Merrill Edge® Report: Spring 2018 showed an inclination towards socially-conscious investing, as more Americans are beginning to support organizations that share their same ideologies. According to The Business Journal, 85% of Americans say they are more likely to invest their money in companies that promote diverse leadership.
According to Microsoft’s 2017 CSR Annual Report, they receive input from millions of people each year, ranging from individual users to policymakers and even global human rights specialists to find out what is valued from all communities. By using outside input from across the globe, they are able to make informed business decisions that will positively affect their customers, employees, and shareholders. Microsoft has always been a key driver in cultivating diverse leadership and promoting a philanthropic movement. This has set a level of expectations and is continually valued by its shareholders. Microsoft’s diversity inclusion begins with their recruiting efforts. The executive recruiting team has a driven focus to prospect diverse talent. As part of Microsoft’s recruiting strategies, top talent is recruited from many conferences such as Grace Hopper, Tapia, National Society of Black MBAs, National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Out and Equal, Recruit Military Career Expo, and others. Microsoft recognizes that you can recruit talent, build it by promoting the study of computer science at universities, and encourage students of all backgrounds to study computing as well. Microsoft acknowledges the importance of diversity among all their stakeholders and continues to develop its growth within their culture, creating positive returns for all.
The pairing of social responsibility and organizational culture has a positive impact that influences all levels of an organization.
See what your organization should consider before implementing a CSR strategy in our eGuide, 5 Tips for Driving Better Strategy Execution.