What is Corporate Social Responsibility, And why should you Care?
Right now, the job market is strong in the United States. If your organization is looking to hire, it’s more important than ever to understand what job seekers are looking for, and why.
A good place to start is with Millennials. Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials currently make up the largest population of working professionals in the U.S., and it seems they aren’t liking what they see: 75% of Millennials believe that businesses are more focused on their own good, rather than on improving and benefiting society.
Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse reported that “81 percent of Millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.” In fact, your organization’s commitment to good corporate citizenship is directly tied to attracting talent – with 58% of candidates surveyed saying they consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work.
Social and environmental commitments can also help organizations to retain top talent. Nearly 70% of employees say they wouldn’t work for a company without a strong purpose, while 60% would take a pay cut to work at a purpose-driven company.
It has become increasingly clear that to attract and retain skilled workers, your organization must consider its impact on the community, the environment, and its employees. Here are some companies that have received accolades for their work in these areas:
- Starbucks, a multi-national chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves, aims to bring clean water to 1 billion people around the world and has been investing in local communities for over 20 years.
- Trader Joe’s, a chain of grocery stores dedicated to innovative, sustainable packaging, is committed to customer satisfaction and fair prices. Employees receive competitive compensation and a 20 percent store discount among other benefits.
- TOMS, a shoe retailer, was established with the social mission of matching every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. The company has identified six key commitments to demonstrate positive impact on the planet.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is essentially corporate citizenship; it is the idea that companies need to be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental.
What is your organization’s economic impact?
- How many – and what types of – jobs are you making available?
- Are you paying workers a fair wage?
- What is the value of the good and services you’re putting out into the world?
What is your organization’s social impact?
- To what extent does your organization get involved with social issues like climate change, racial inequity, hunger, poverty, or homelessness?
- Are you a good steward in your community?
- How do you lessen the negative impact of doing business?
What is your organization’s environmental impact?
- How have you reduced electricity usage?
- Can you change fuel consumption for company vehicles?
- Are you measuring your carbon emissions?
The above list is not exhaustive of the types of things your organization should consider as part of your CSR strategy, but it is a good start.
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How can your organization become more socially responsible?
CSR is a way that organizations can build trust, raise awareness for important issues, and encourage social change. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is another term that you might hear to describe a company’s efforts to be socially responsible.
ESG is the quantifiable measurement of a company’s social impact outcome – whereas CSR is the business model it has put in place to hold itself accountable for its actions to society. And whether your organization has an effective CSR program, or you’re just getting started in your efforts, there are some things that you can do to improve your business outcomes with CSR:
- Offer competitive wages and benefits packages
- Support philanthropic causes
- Use recycled materials
- Reduce carbon emissions
- Pay corporate taxes
You can get your employees involved, as well. Simple ways that they can participate in your CSR efforts include:
- Turning the lights off in a room when they leave it
- Volunteering in the local community during dedicated work hours
- Biking (or ride-sharing) to and from work
- Personal and professional development
Weigh in on your CSR Program
At Skillsoft, we care about CSR from many perspectives.
- We’re committed to our CSR strategy.
We believe in the life changing impact of learning, and our vision is to help people and organizations achieve their fullest potential through learning and development. Fundamentally, our CSR strategy reflects our purpose-driven culture and is evident in our platforms, our content, and our people.
- We offer CSR training that can help you with your CSR strategy.
Curious about the effects of environmental change on business? Wondering how to become a more sustainable organization? We have you covered.
We believe that Skillsoft is in a unique position to dig into the topic of CSR in more detail. We want to know how companies in a variety of industries, globally, are investing in their CSR programs, including:
- Who “owns” your CSR program internally?
- What makes it successful or unsuccessful?
- How mature are your CSR efforts?
- Why is CSR important to you?
Our hope is that obtaining the answers to these questions will bring clarity to organizations’ CSR efforts and provide a blueprint for what is working (and what might not be working) – illuminating the most provocative CSR trends across global organizations.