The benefits of workplace CSR initiatives

  Alister Hales
   20 January, 2022
  4 Min Read
The benefits of workplace CSR initiatives

Around 58% of Australians believe businesses have a responsibility to commit to environmental sustainability and social and ethical practices, while 55% are more likely to recommend socially charitable organisations. Workplace CSR provides reciprocal benefits by positively impacting communities, company reputation and employee experience. 

Since the CSR movement began, businesses have increasingly been working to meet the public demands of social and environmental accountability, rather than solely operating in the pursuit of profit. By providing positive value to the community, organisations can improve their reputation and be more attractive to the socially-aware talent that’s characterising the modern workforce. Employees expect more from their employers than ever before, and with the great resignation coming into effect, it’s become critical to accommodate public sentiments and demonstrate social and environmental responsibility. 

What does workplace CSR look like?

Workplace CSR can take on many forms, but at its core, it’s about businesses contributing to the greater good of society, taking responsibility for their decision-making and displaying loyalty to positive causes. It can cover a wide range of topics such as gender equality, diversity, employee health and wellbeing, ethical labour practices, philanthropy, economic responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Organisations can apply a variety of workplace CSR initiatives, including: 

  • Implementing clear CSR principles and policies or an environmental, social governance framework 
  • Hosting regular charitable social events or making regular donations
  • Promoting mental health awareness  
  • Creating sustainable working environments that are suited to modern ways of working all the while supporting collaboration, open communication and employee engagement 

Benefits of CSR for your organisation

The world has evolved rapidly in recent years and employees, customers and shareholders expect more from organisations and want to see considered actions toward doing good by the people and planet. A clearly defined workplace CSR strategy has a wide range of benefits:  

Attracting and retaining talent

By embracing workplace CSR, you can not only attract employees, but create an environment that inspires productivity, creativity, and professional growth and be better situated to retain staff. It also helps to amplify a company’s culture showing that you are committed to making a positive contribution to the community and climate.

Implementing CSR practices in your organisation can lead to greater employee engagement as employees, especially Millennials, want to work for a company that demonstrates their commitment to purposes greater than the company itself. In fact,  78 per cent of Millennials consider CSR as a key criteria when applying for jobs.

This can also positively impact long term business performance by creating a considerate leadership culture and developing responsible behaviour across an organisation. When organisations implement top-down CSR initiatives this also helps to perpetuate powerful leadership efforts that are constructive to building better futures for everyone. 

Improves public image 

Ethical business practices improve perceptions and brand loyalty which gives organisations a competitive business edge over other industry players and can improve their profitability. 

Organisations can boost their reputation by supporting causes that align with company values while meeting workplace CSR goals. Companies that are actively involved in CSR exercises can also wield more positive feedback by creating stronger connections within their immediate community. This can then lead to increased brand awareness through CSR activities that will make the organisation more readily recognised for the right reasons, both for existing and prospective clients or customers. 

Increased revenue 

Workplace CSR can also improve financial performance and boost your bottom line. Deloitte’s Ethical Advantage report found that businesses with a strong social and ethical reputation can increase the return on their assets by as much as seven per cent. 

And with investors and consumers leaning more towards environmentally and socially responsible companies,  they’re happier to put their dollars into these types of organisations that are contributing to a more sustainable future.

How the workplace can support your CSR goals

There are many ways that workplaces can encourage the achievement of CSR goals. Employing an effective workplace strategy can help your business meet CSR objectives while enhancing the employee experience. Research has shown that by taking some considered approaches to implementing effective CSR strategies, companies can deliver measurable and meaningful outcomes.  

It starts with understanding. A successful CSR workplace strategy will come from wholly understanding your customers, your employees and your stakeholders through paying close attention to what is important to them and what social and environmental issues they care about. This should be factored into decision-making to show that you value the opinions of your staff and open and transparent CSR policies can also contribute to higher levels of employee engagement. Introducing metrics to measure how initiatives are progressing towards their targets can also be a motivating force for staff and give them a sense of accomplishment once the goals have been achieved. 

And of course, always look to do better. Consistently check in with all your people and ask them what more your company can be doing in the community or how your organisation can make further carbon footprint reductions. This demonstrates accountability as well as responsible leadership.

CSR initiatives help businesses play a positive and meaningful role in the lives of employees and the community by contributing to causes that ultimately affect every single one of us. It’s up to businesses to develop workplace CSR strategies and lead the way towards a better future through considered decision-making and thoughtful actions. For more information on how to implement a successful workplace strategy to achieve your business CSR goals, read our guide to the future of work