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Why CSR and corporate volunteering helps retain staff
When it comes to engaging and retaining staff, companies tend to jump straight to offering a higher salary or more benefits. While offering competitive compensation and attractive perks can help you keep your best talent, there’s another way to boost retention: corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate volunteering.
Research from Deloitte has shown employees who participate in a company’s CSR and corporate volunteering programs are twice as likely to be satisfied with their career progression. These employees are more likely to be proud and feel a sense of loyalty to their company. Further to this, 55% of candidates consider a company’s CSR actions and volunteering opportunities when accepting a job offer.
With this in mind, here’s how you can leverage corporate volunteering and CSR as part of your employee retention efforts.
What is CSR and corporate volunteering?
Building a successful business is about more than generating revenue — it’s about effecting positive change with your values, practices, and profits. CSR programs ensure companies are committed to ethical business practices. This is in addition to being aware of their impact on human rights, local communities and the environment.
While there are endless ways for a company to give back, CSR efforts are typically centred on a few categories:
- Environmental, such as reducing carbon footprints or prioritising sustainable development
- Philanthropic, which includes donating money or services for NGOs, charities, and local community programs
- Ethical labour, which is demonstrated both in a company’s hiring policy and any partners they may choose to work with for production or manufacturing
- Corporate volunteering, either through organised events or dedicated days off for staff to volunteer for a cause of their choice
In addition to the positive impact on society, CSR programs directly affect a company’s public image and bottom line. Almost 90% of customers will purchase a product because the company supports a cause they believe in, and nearly two thirds of consumers hope businesses will lead social and environmental change in the future.
Why is volunteering important for retention?
Modern-day employees want more than just a job. They’re looking for meaningful work, a company with a mission they can rally behind, and a team that shares their values and beliefs. And 50% of workers want their job to connect them with a higher purpose, and will stay longer in a role that gives them this – they’re even willing to take a pay cut for it.
The results of a study by Insead showed that participants were 30% less likely to leave their organisation after participating in a social impact consulting assignment, even though they received half the amount of salary compared to before the study took place. Employees with purpose also perform better at work, and are more likely to advance to senior management positions.
Corporate volunteering and corporate social responsibility benefits employers and employees: they give your team a cause to rally behind, foster stronger workplace bonds and a positive company culture, and gives employees a greater sense of vision and community in their day-to-day role.
Ideas for CSR and corporate volunteering in the workplace
CSR is an opportunity for your company to implement real business practices that positively contribute to communities and to the planet.
When looking at CSR and volunteering activities, it’s important to view it as an investment. While these actions don’t come for free, they pay off with improved brand image, higher retention and engagement rates, and potentially increased revenue.
There are countless causes out there that your company can rally behind throughout the year, including:
- Carbon offsetting. Businesses leave an impact on the environment when they provide products or services. As part of their purchase, give customers the option to offset their carbon footprint with a nominal contribution. Airline carriers have adopted this as a standard best practice, with companies like Jetstar giving passengers the opportunity to offset the fuel used during their flight.
- Partner with local charities for corporate volunteering in Sydney, Melbourne and other states. Charities and NGOs often run on a skeleton crew, and could always use extra hands on deck. Many charities work with companies to arrange corporate volunteering days, such as the Parramatta Mission Meals Plus service where companies can sponsor a lunch for those who are less fortunate. This provides your team with a hands-on opportunity to give back. It builds a sense of company spirit through a meaningful team-building activity.
- Donate a portion of your profits to help a cause your team believe in. A little goes a long way, and even by donating 1% of your company profits you can support a cause that’s important to your organisation. When choosing your cause, be sure to involve your team in the decision-making process through a poll. Or better yet, set up a committee within your team to spearhead CSR efforts.
- Launch a fundraiser. Throughout the year, there are plenty of fundraising events to participate in, including Movember, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, City2Surf and Dry July. Encourage your employees to lead the effort, and for your management team to get behind the cause through donating or participating.
- Give team members paid time off to support a cause of their choice. While your company can support causes as a whole, consider giving your employees paid time off throughout the year to go out there and volunteer for a charity of their choice. By giving employees the chance to support a cause they believe in, they’ll feel valued within the company.
- Work with ethical partners. When considering companies to work with, it’s imperative to ensure their business practices complement your company’s beliefs and values before working together. Check to see which CSR programs they have in place, and ask for insights into their business practices and sustainable development policies.
No matter which CSR actions you choose, it’s imperative they align with your overarching company vision and mission. By supporting causes that your team believe in, you can cultivate a strong CSR and corporate volunteering program in your organisation.