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Over the course of the last decade, companies of all shapes and sizes have focused increasingly on corporate social responsibility. In fact of the 250 largest companies in the world, 93% produced a CSR report in 2017, declaring their commitment to conducting their business in an ethical, and socially conscious, way.
In theory, corporate social responsibility is a business model that takes into account economic, environmental, and social impact. In practice, CSR can involve a range of different activities and initiatives; from sustainability and employee volunteering, to ethical manufacturing.
As well as helping society, companies are also finding that CSR can also benefit their business. The potential benefits of CSR to companies include:
Generally, customers want to know that they are working with socially responsible companies; so publishing your CSR policy can play a big part in helping you win new business.
CSR can help you define and develop a positive reputation, increase trust and recommendations, and enhance your public image.
In graduate recruitment, CSR is a great way for companies to attract the best talent to their business.
CSR can also help improve morale and collaboration in teams; boosting employee retention.
An increasing number of businesses are incorporating CSR into their wider corporate strategy. Companies will often break their CSR policy down into different areas, which, depending on the nature of the business, can include:
Under each of these pillars, companies may detail specific initiatives and activities, such as:
In order for a CSR program to be effective, it must be tailored to your company.
It's a good idea to look at what your direct competitors are doing. Assessing what similar businesses have done will help you to gain a good understanding of the benefits of CSR for your company, and best practices for your particular sector.
If you want to ensure that your CSR policy aligns with your company culture, involving your team is key. Getting employees involved in CSR is also a highly effective way to gain engagement, and ensure that sustainability efforts are company-wide. It can also boost teamwork and motivation within your team; aiding candidate attraction, graduate recruitment and employee retention.
Determining what makes your company unique is key to making sure it aligns with your brand. Think about your company’s mission, vision and core values – once you know these you can start looking for programmes and initiatives that fit with your values. Your customers and employees will be able to tell if your CSR policy doesn’t match up with your company values; so this is a crucial stage.
Having clear goals in place will allow you to measure how successful your CSR policy has been. Whether it is employee engagement, a certain amount of money raised, workplace diversity, or compliance, there are many different ways to calculate and then communicate success to your employees, customers and wider network.
Tracking the success of your CSR program will also help you to develop it accordingly. Speaking to employees and customers will allow you to gain feedback, while having clear goals in place will help you to continually improve and grow your CSR policy and potential social impact.
For businesses, corporate social responsibility can have huge benefits; including attracting new business, developing relationships, establishing your reputation, attracting talent, and ensuring high employee retention.
Whether your focus is on graduate recruitment, corporate image, or improved financial performance; a great CSR policy can have numerous benefits for your organisation.
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