Spark social responsibility

BY Zoe Thompson
17 May 2019

 The joy of fostering CSR in the workplace. 

Homes across the world have been swept by the phenomenon of re-organising wardrobes to ignite satisfaction, but why stop at your front door?

The importance of re-arranging your workplace is just as essential in the workplace as it is at home. Employers can look to mimic this method into their operations by re-organising corporate culture and de-cluttering any unethical practices to create positive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and spark social responsibility in the work environment.

The result of being socially responsible is ideal for both the bottom-line and employee morale and can lead to the following:

Increased motivation and productivity among employees

Studies have shown that fully engaged employees are 2.5 times more likely to exceed performance expectations compared to those who are disengaged. As motivation is highly synonymous productivity, providing employees with opportunities to participate in social initiatives and allocating time for employees to facilitate their own activities, can build loyalty and induce personal gratification. If employees see the value in making contributions to the environment, they will be highly motivated to complete tasks in an efficient and effective manner, which is music to any business owners’ ears.

Improves employee retention and can attract top talent

According to a study by PwC, 56% of millennial's would consider leaving an organisation if its social responsibility program didn’t meet their expectations. If an employee knows their workplace encourages CSR, they will be more inclined to stay which will reduce recruitment and training costs. Positive brand association is also ideal, as it enhances the probability of an employee recommending the company’s offerings to potential talent through one of the most inexpensive and effective marketing tools - word-of-mouth.

As stipulated by KPMG, 78% of engaged staff are brand advocates, therefore it’s important that the people representing you respect your brand and are proud of the company they work for. Afterall, they are the ones who have a higher probability of recommending your products and services to both customers and prospective talent.

Encourages employees to engage in workplace activities

Employees feel most engaged when they feel part of holistic organisation, as opposed to being strictly bound to their respective role and tasks. Including your employees in the vision, planning, design and implementation of CSR initiatives can foster an inclusive work environment.

These initiatives can range from volunteer work and fundraisers, to even something as simple as the importance of recycling to minimise waste. Through involving staff in every step of the process they will feel more engaged and included, have the opportunity to experience firsthand how small initiatives can contribute immensely to the preservation of the environment.

Enhances employee creativity and sense of self

ARA_spark-CSRMost business owners would be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If not, the hierarchy of needs is motivational theory comprising of a five-tier model of human needs. These human needs range from basic physiological needs, to safety, belonginess, esteem and self-actualisation.

While CSR touches on all levels of Maslow’s five-stage model, it can be most applicable to the belonginess, esteem and self-actualisation tiers. Developing CSR initiatives can encourage all levels of management to work together as a team to meet organisational objectives. Not only will this increase productivity and enhance positive brand association, it will also strengthen relationships between all levels of management through trust and inclusiveness, which all contribute greatly to an employee’s sense of belonging.

If an employee knows their work is contributing to a greater cause and are being recognised and rewarded for their efforts, it may produce a sense of achievement and fulfilment and inspire them to seek out more creative ways to enhance the business’ CSR initiatives or maximise efficiency in other aspects of the business. When an employee’s esteem needs are being met, it leads to a greater chance of retention and a reduction in likelihood of employee dissatisfaction.

Around one-third or 30% of a human’s life is spent at work, therefore it is vital that employees feel like their work has purpose.  If employees’ sense that all levels of their needs are being meet through CSR initiatives, they may be encouraged to seek personal growth through internal employment opportunities and up-skill themselves and this in turn, will significantly benefit the long-term growth and sustainability of the business.

The effects of exhibiting CSR can treacle down from management to consumers. According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, over 50% consumers would be willing to pay a premium price for goods and services from socially responsible business. Further to this, being known for having reputable CSR practices can also help your business to stand out from the crowd and heightens competitive advantage. As a result, this has the potential to nurture a strong relationship between your business and the wider community.

Zoe is the Marketing and Communications Officer for the Australian Retailers Association and has a vested interest in public relations and the media. To keep up to date with the latest in retail news visit www.retail.org.au/media-centre or for media inquiries please call the media team on 0439 612 556.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zoe Thompson

Zoe is the Marketing and Communications Officer for the Australian Retailers Association

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