Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is no longer an option. It is a must-have for business success!
Have you noticed that corporations are changing the way they conduct their businesses? More and more, companies are expected to play a significant role in making the world a better place. Customers, employees, and investors are paying attention and they want to engage with purpose-driven companies that are taking action to address and help find solutions to economic, social, and environmental challenges.
In our ever-changing environment, business owners and their consumers are searching for new ways to positively impact their communities.
As our society continues to re-engage following the COVID-19 pandemic, focus is on CSR. This applies to the workforce and to the beneficiaries of the company’s social impact. It’s important that companies take note of what is working and what can be improved upon. This applies to their internal communities as well as the external communities they serve.
As we forge ahead in 2023, here are the three CSR trends that will have the greatest impact on employee engagement and business success:
CSR Trend #1: Involvement in Current Events and Rapid Crisis Response
Over half of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of its positioning related to social issues. When something significant occurs, the eyes of stakeholders, as well as the public, are on businesses and their responses. Increasingly, consumers are opting to purchase from brands that take an active part in pertinent world issues.
So what can we expect to see going forward? Businesses need to have better communications. CSR trends point towards companies having more direct, agile, proactive, and confident responses to emerging social impact issues and clearer communication when it comes to emergency response, whether manmade or natural. Communications should keep the workforce engaged and avoid misinformation and misinterpretation.
United Way can help you design your response strategy. As one of the premier health and human services nonprofits, United Way deeply understands the local communities and is often one of the first to respond to emerging issues and crises. For example, in response to the COVID19 pandemic, Orange County United Way promptly and effectively established a Relief Fund, ultimately raising over $6M and serving thousands of residents with basic needs and eviction prevention assistance. When planning your corporate response to social issues, reach out to us. We can help you develop a personalized response strategy that fits your Corporate Purpose and company culture.
CSR Trend #2: Think Global, Act Local
CSR is quickly becoming more about the smaller and essential impact, which can be made within the local communities where a company’s footprint resides and where the workforce lives, works, and plays.
Acting local is not a weaker strategy. In fact, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are based on the theory that global change can be achieved through local action. There are high-profile opportunities for businesses to make significant impact closer to home, within the community surrounding their various premises. Taking action to ensure that there is local financial wellness, affordable and safe housing available, food security, and an educated up-and-coming diverse workforce all elevate the wellness of everyone in the community, including a company’s greatest asset: its employees.
So what can we expect to see going forward? Deeper connections between businesses and their surrounding communities in order to better understand local community issues and how long-term partnerships can truly achieve sustainable change.
Is your company located in OC? Consider a CSR partnership with Orange County United Way to get connected and become more active in your local community.
CSR Trend #3: The Rise of Employee Engagement
The time for employees has come! As stakeholders, employees are considered as important as consumers. Companies now see clearly that the contributions of the workforce, both on the job and on their own time, are paramount. According to Forbes, employee engagement has shown to lead to an increase in business profitability by 21% and four times more revenue. Why? Because engaged employees stick around longer and show up to work every day with passion, purpose, presence, and energy.
The Great Resignation and resulting talent shortages have left no doubt that employee satisfaction directly influences business success. Therefore, it has never been more critical to create a work environment that fosters and supports employee engagement. The desire for fulfillment, connection, and to make an impact are prevalent.
So what can we expect to see going forward?
- A CSR strategy that outlines employee engagement is necessary, but not enough. It is no longer satisfactory to have policies and strategies in place, companies need to show how they are actively encouraging participation and supporting their employees’ success. Beyond strategy, it is crucial for companies to solidify their goals and communicate their efforts. CSR must have workforce-wide internal exposure and every individual needs to understand how their role contributes to the greater Corporate Purpose. Employees seek meaning now more than ever. They need to feel that their jobs make a difference and not just to them.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continues to rise to the top CSR trends in 2023. Many corporations took incredible leaps in 2022 to broaden their DEI scope. For those, this year will be about refinement. The focus here needs to be on solutions that build and maintain trust and commitment, as well as creating a safe and inclusive employee environment that offers differentiated support and fair opportunities.
- Employee Well-being is quickly becoming a very important part of overall employee engagement. Workplace well-being refers to the mental, psychological, and/or emotional aspect of employees’ lives and can take into consideration the employees’ satisfaction, health, and professional development. Work design, organization, and management as well as employees’ social and environmental context play a major role in workers’ psychological and physical health. These factors should be the focus of workplace well-being plans.
One of the ways that companies can increase employee well-being is to offer a regular cadence of volunteer opportunities. Research confirms that volunteering has positive mental and physical health benefits such as reduced stress, better heart health, better mental health, better physical health, more confidence, and greater happiness.
If you are looking for employee engagement opportunities in 2023, contact Orange County United Way. We make getting involved easy! From plug-and-play volunteer opportunities, to drives, to deep community impact, we can tailor volunteer activities to meet your team and company’s needs and values while helping you make a meaningful local impact.
With nearly 100 years of purpose-driven community impact experience, we are deeply committed to raising awareness regarding Orange County’s health and human service challenges and providing direct programming and services to support and facilitate student success, financial security, and ending homelessness. In addition, we collaborate with hundreds of nonprofits and organizations to address a wide range of issues. We understand that our community’s most critical issues are interconnected and, therefore, must be addressed in an inter-related way.
Now more than ever, customers, employees, and investors are looking for purpose, action, and results.
The world is watching what we do. Because what we do tells them how we care.
Want to boost your company’s CSR?
To improve your CSR strategy and increase employee engagement, we encourage you to:
- Register for our CSR training.
- Learn more: Deepen your workforce’s connection to your corporate purpose.
- Contact Livi Kerszenbaum, Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at LiviK@UnitedWayOC.org or 949.263.6167 to build your own personalized high-impact CSR strategy or to learn how your company can partner with us to offer exciting employee engagement opportunities.