The business benefits of doing good

By: Marco Barbosa

Date: 14 November 2017

The business benefits of doing goodWithin five years, millennials will comprise more than half the total workforce; and according to a study by Bentley University, 84% of them want to make a positive difference in the world.

This is supported by The Millennial Impact Report, which found that more than half of millennials have been inspired to work long-term for a company whose mission it is to change the world.

This means that companies that demonstrate a long-term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment will outperform others in terms of talent acquisition and retention, productivity and sales.

According to a Project ROI Report, 76% of Americans wouldn't take a job with a company that had a bad reputation even if they were unemployed. 45% of millennials said they would take a pay cut to work for a company that makes a positive social or environmental impact. The same report found that CSR reduced employee turnover by 25-50%.

Attracting talent by doing good

So, be vocal about the work you do, the opportunities you offer employees and the systems and policies you have in place that demonstrate your commitment to CSR. Include a section in recruiter profiles and make sure you talk about your CSR work during interviews.

CSR programmes have been shown to improve productivity by around 13%, according to Project ROI. The challenge for employers is finding a way of effectively managing CSR. Dedicating too much time and attention to CSR can be a distraction and wipe out all the productivity gains; too little time and CSR slips from the agenda.

Some larger companies are recruiting CSR directors to manage their environmental impact, charitable giving and employee volunteer programmes. For smaller companies, this isn't necessary or feasible.

However, having one person as the key point of contact for your CSR activities can provide focus and keeps things moving. Enabling CSR with technology will help reduce the manual management and allow employees to choose whether to get involved or not, volunteering and fundraising for causes they feel passionately about, as and when they can.

Making the case for CSR

Customers are also inspired by CSR. In the US, 83% of consumers say they want more products and services they use to contribute to a social cause; 62% said they'd switch brands if it didn't have a clear social purpose.

Companies with a good reputation for CSR see sales revenue increase by up to 20%, according to the Project ROI Report, with every $1 in philanthropic contributions generating $6 of revenue (within limits).

Of course, sales won't increase if customers don't know about the work you are doing, so shout about it and track the impact you make. A technology platform should be able to keep a running total of money donated, hours spent volunteering, paper and ink saved, etc. These facts help to benchmark your business against others and demonstrate your commitment to CSR.

The most effective CSR programmes are those that fit in with your brand ethos and employees' passions. Find yours and commit to it wholeheartedly - employees, customers and the world will thank you.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Marco Barbosa is a serial entrepreneur who has started three successful businesses and has been named in Forbes 30under30 for Social Entrepreneurship. His latest venture, eSolidar, is a tech platform connecting businesses with charities.