Lots of companies – including our own – are looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact and thinking about how they can make a positive contribution to the communities in which they work.
It feels like the right thing to do and it’s the way ethical companies behave, whether or not it’s “good” for the company.
But if your team includes one of those people who refuses to spend any money unless it positively impacts the bottom line, we’ve got some interesting research for you that could help change minds.
We asked HR execs in Europe, the USA and China how important ethical and environmental initiatives are to their company’s recruitment strategy and 81% said they were either extremely or somewhat important.
This figure rises to 84% of HR professionals in the manufacturing industry when we broke the figures down by sector. The relevance of these initiatives to other areas is similarly high with retail also at 84% and hospitality at 83%, illustrating that the influence of a good corporate social responsibility plan is essential for businesses of all industries.
If your company relies on attracting and retaining millennials, it’s worth noting that our research found that a significantly larger proportion of workers from this generation place importance on ethical/environmentally sustainable initiatives and diversity initiatives in the workplace compared to generation X and baby boomers.
Looking at this research makes a compelling argument for introducing environmental policies and contributing to the community, even if the ethical aspect doesn’t appeal to you.
But from it we have also learnt that there are important reasons to make sure your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity is well known.
While HR professionals acknowledge that a good salary is what attracts people to a company more than anything else in the UK, 20% say that the reputation of an organisation is also an important factor, while 16% said the same about the organisation’s values, mission and purpose – all areas that are influenced by corporate social responsibility initiatives.
So while it’s not the most natural feeling for UK companies to be tooting our own horns, there are reasons to publicise good deeds – it contributes to your reputation and helps build your brand, which in turn assists with recruiting and retaining talented people.
At B2B International we’ve been working hard to make sure our company is a genuinely caring, considerate place to work. While this involves making tangible changes – switching to a renewable energy supplier and offering convenient recycling facilities, for example – it also means making sure people know about it.
This could be something as simple as sharing the news on social media (where potential employees are bound to do some research). It can also mean devising an internal comms policy to flag up CSR initiatives, rather than assuming every staff member scours the intranet or staff handbook line by line.
At B2B International we’ve seen the benefit of communicating our policies by ensuring that everyone knows they can make use of employee charity days, leading to a significant uptick in staff members making use of this benefit. We support our local mental health charity, Mind Stockport, not just with research resources and donations, but by offering eight places on the Manchester 10k run to raise money. We’re also planning to finish 2019 with a calendar mailer about our CSR efforts.
So there you have it. If you’re already embracing ethical business, congratulations and be confident that it isn’t just good for humanity, it will help your organisations – just don’t be shy about letting people know. If you’re not – there’s no excuse, it’s not only the right thing to do but it could also be one more valuable weapon in your armaments. And that is something that every business could do with.