A few weeks ago, HighPoint had the pleasure of hosting an event in Boston with Mark Feldman, Founder and Managing Director of Cause Consulting. Mark is a nationally recognized leader in helping companies across all industries and sizes integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their business strategies.
Mark’s discussion got me thinking about CSR and why it’s so important – it impacts everything from talent recruitment and retention, to consumer perception and trust, to stock price and financial performance:
- We all know Millennials will soon be the largest workforce segment, and CSR seems to be a key factor in the acquisition and retention of millennial talent. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, over 80 percent of Millennials would like to make a positive difference in the world. No surprise that over half of them choose an employer based on an organization’s purpose, and that almost 90 percent would stay with that company for more than 5 years.
- Millennials aren’t the only ones who care, apparently. According to an Aflac CSR Survey from 2015, company ethics and CSR come in second behind only salary when it comes to employee priorities.
- According to this same Aflac survey, when it comes to investing, 69 percent of all consumers are more likely to purchase stock in a company well-known for its ethical standards and corporate social responsibility program (on track with the same values demanded by Millennials in their investment goals).
- Consumer trust in a company’s goals and practices are critical to the bottom line, which I examined in a HighLights post last year. Volkswagen ditched its moral compass, and is feeling the pain with a recent $14.7B settlement.
- More CEOs are making business decisions and taking a stand on controversial social issues not directly related to their companies’ objectives, and consumers are taking notice.
CSR cannot sit as an isolated function, as a recent article in the Harvard Business Review points out. Given its impact internally and in the market, a more connected and engaged approach to CSR is essential for success. No matter the approach, our takeaway is clear: CSR plays a critical role in how corporations engage with the outside world.