Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities help businesses to improve their reputation and enhance their influence with customers, suppliers and networks. This can directly help Top Employers to attract, retain and engage employees, and to be an employer of choice.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Volunteering Activities in the Telecoms Industry
This Top Employer (Europe, 3000 employees) runs a CSR programme to support young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds in ‘sensitive urban areas’ to enter the world of work. The programme has two components. The first is a training initiative to enhance the skills and abilities of young people and give them support to achieve their career aspirations. For example, between 2016 and 2017, more than 750 employees took part in volunteering activities targeting youths at risk of school dropouts, as well as focusing on females and ‘future talents’. The second component is recruitment. The company has pledged to hire 5000 young work-study trainees and 2500 trainees, with a particular focus on the youth from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. During this 2016-2017 recruitment campaign, the overall rate of youths (26 years and under) recruited from sensitive urban areas was 18.2%, which is an impressive number considering that only around 7% of the French population live in these areas.
The limitation of this example for smaller-sized companies may be the size and scale of the numbers involved. However, even if done on a smaller scale, this type of CSR activity could be valuable to raise the engagement of all employees. The inclusion component helps build pride in the company and can often have the added benefit of driving innovation thanks to the new perspectives brought in by these diverse employees or trainees.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Volunteering Activities in the Food and Beverage Industry
This Top Employer (Europe, 500 employees) is running ‘School Relations Weeks’ focusing on universities in disadvantaged areas. In 2017, employees spent four weeks involved in training activities reaching out to 450 students. The focus was on professional development and business-related exercises with participants being offered the chance to apply for internships at the company after taking part in the sessions. In a follow-up survey, 88% of the students recommended the programme. Qualitative feedback also showed the volunteer activities were personally rewarding for the 40 employees who took part in facilitating and delivering these sessions.
The limitation of this practice would be the time invested by the volunteers. Management can often be reluctant to take team members’ attention away from core tasks. Thus, the role and the implication of middle management in deciding how to set up such a CSR activity is the key to its success.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Volunteering Activities in the Beverage Industry
This Top Employer (Africa, 1300 employees) strengthens its role in the community by extending its volunteering programme to employees’ families. For example, families are invited to participate in beach clean-ups organized by the company. In terms of social engagement, the company has also set up a dedicated programme of activities for employees’ families, including an annual excursion for staff and their families called Family Day, special competitions for children and weekend hiking activities to encourage healthy living. The company has a high level of staff retention thanks to these benefits.
The practice is sometimes covered within the social activities of companies. However, in many countries, getting families involved in company (CSR) activities is a source of pride for employees. A key success factor in such activities is the involvement of the families of management, as this helps to engage lower level employees and create a feeling of ‘accessibility’ to senior management.
CSR activities are best practices not only for their valuable social impact, but also because of the fulfilment it can bring to employees who take part in rewarding activities outside of their day jobs. It can be eye-opening to have direct contact with the (diverse) community the company serves, and such activities are also likely to have a positive impact on a company’s consumer and employer brand.
All stakeholders of a company are positively impacted by CSR practices. For a Top Employer, being actively involved in CSR can make a significant difference for clients, investors and shareholders, and of course, it supports being an employer of choice.
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