Shining a light on your corporate social responsibility credentials

Seana Donnelly
Seana Donnelly

Seana Donnelly is a talent manager at Progeny

In the tide of recent employment trends including ‘The Great Resignation’, ‘Quiet Quitting’ and the ‘The Great Reshuffle’, we’ve witnessed a reversal of the established employee/employer dynamic and today’s candidates have high expectations of a prospective employer in terms of culture, benefits and investment in their team.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers*, 88% of Millennials prefer companies that emphasise corporate social responsibility (CSR), so employers with well-defined and illustrated CSR values have the benefit of being well positioned in the future talent race.

The Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) describes CSR as the ethics which drive an organisation’s activities and how it operates. Ethics and culture can be more tricky to communicate however, so what can companies do to effectively articulate and promote their CSR credentials to potential employees?

Demonstrate your values

Research from Gallup found that fewer than half of employees know what their organisation stands for and what differentiates it from competitors, which means that prospective candidates stand even less chance!

Having a company mission statement or values published on your website is a good starting point, but this is simply one piece of the puzzle. An organisation also needs to be able to communicate how it demonstrates those values and this is where business ‘storytelling’ is an important tool for building a narrative and connecting with people on an emotional level.

What are some of the challenges the business has overcome? Share milestones in achieving targets and give people a peek behind the scenes at your workplace and the faces behind the brand and what motivates them. All of this helps create a vision that prospective employees can assess against their own values to help them determine if there is a good cultural fit.

Show alignment

Ethics and values should be embedded into company frameworks and objectives and the aim is that potential candidates can see your ethics running through the business and truly reflected in the workplace experience. In essence, doing well and doing good should go hand in hand, so people will be looking for an employer to illustrate how a role’s success will align with targets such as great customer outcomes and not just an increase in profits.

Becoming a signatory to initiatives such as The Mindful Employer Charter, the Financial Vulnerability Taskforce Charter or the Women in Finance Charter also helps to underline your commitment to specific issues and aims, as well as supporting companies with a framework of governance in those areas. Prospective candidates may also be looking for opportunities to get involved in the values and ethics-based activity, through, for example, wellbeing or sustainability focus groups, charitable trusts or foundations or the ability to do pro-bono work or volunteering.

Further to this, there are recognised, formal accreditations, such as B Corp Certification or CSR Accreditation, that companies can apply for and which support a fully holistic and integrated approach to social responsibility.

Be authentic

Authenticity has to be your guiding star. The first thing most people do nowadays when assessing if they want to apply for a position is research a prospective employer online, so you need to ensure that your corporate digital footprint lines up. Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed offer candidates an honest window into your culture, as well as the feedback from exit interviews. Social media showcases employee experience and sentiment and customer feedback can easily be found on Google reviews and platforms such as Trustpilot.

If all touchpoints are painting a similar picture then people will feel reassured, whereas alarm bells may start ringing if your brand identity seems inconsistent.

In summary, your culture could be one of your greatest assets and although it’s largely intangible, there are many ways that business owners can help it to shine through and position themselves as an employer of choice in today’s competitive marketplace.

*PricewaterhouseCoopers – Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace