Corporate responsibility not only reinforces employee engagement--business performance also gets a boost.
There are a lot of feel-good reasons to make your company more socially responsible, but a growing body of evidence indicates that CR, or corporate responsibility, measurably improves business performance as well. The concept of corporate responsibility is that an organization concerns itself not only with business and legal guidelines, but also with the social welfare of its employees and its community. A recent study by the Kenexa High Performance Institute, which has been measuring CR and its impact for more than two decades, finds that employees of companies with a high CR culture are far more engaged than those working in a low CR environment.
Engagement matters because it correlates to individual and team performances, customer satisfaction, profitability and total shareholder return. Here are a few ways to develop a corporate responsibility strategy that will reap the benefits of greater employee engagement:
Localize Your Efforts.
Survey respondents reacted positively to their organizations' contributions to the communities where they live and work, so it makes sense to focus your efforts where they're most visible not only to your customers but also to your employees.
Make It Relevant.
While many CR efforts aim to improve public perception of an organization, that's only one piece of the puzzle. Not only do employees--even those without customer contact--play a significant role in fostering that perception, they're also important stakeholders themselves. Involving them at every level of CR decision-making keeps your efforts relevant to their lives and taps their first-hand knowledge of your organization and its customers.
Be For Real.
It should go without saying that your efforts should be heartfelt. If employees sense that you're not serious about your organization's commitments, their engagement will suffer. Similarly, CR policies are not a Band-Aid for a toxic corporate culture. Listening--and responding--to your staff's needs and concerns beyond CR will go a long way in improving engagement.
Your community efforts will be wasted if your employees don't know about them. When planning a PR strategy, don't forget internal communication. Getting your staff involved in the effort, perhaps by rewarding volunteer work, is another way to create employee evangelists who will spread the word about your good deeds both internally and externally.
Here's one final thought for those on the fence about the value of corporate responsibility: U.S. respondents to the Kenexa survey rated their organizations' CR efforts just above the global average, meaning there's plenty of room for improvement--and to outstrip the competition.
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