Corporate Social Responsibility activities

The power of purpose: how corporate philanthropy impacts recruitment and employee retention

CSR activities resonate with employees’ desire to contribute to the community

If previously philanthropy was usually linked to the actions of single individuals, through time the companies have understood the importance of being involved in social initiatives that contribute to the community. Thus, on the corporate level philanthropy (as part of the umbrella CSR concept) has become widely introduced in HR-planned activities, steadily shaping the entire set of values and corporate image that businesses broadcast in the outer world. Why did it become so important for the companies’ policies?

Fast Company states that business that are able to “champion social initiatives also improve their employer brand, and ultimately their ability to recruit employees”. In fact, corporate philanthropy is a great way of boosting employee retention, fostering staff engagement, and significantly enhancing your hiring efforts. Research shows that “50% of people believe working for a company that shares their values is important – and that number rises with the millennial-and-under set. In the competition for talent, having a socially responsible image matters. This plays out in recruiting costs, employee retention, and overall employee productivity”. Nonprofit Quarterly agrees: studies have shown that “employees were more motivated to perform better when their employers made donations on their behalf to a non-profit of their choice”.

How to approach corporate philanthropy in your company

Corporate philanthropy can be practiced in a lot of different ways:

  • Some organizations simply transfer some money as donation to selected charity causes that are supposed to empower social change. This kind of action usually does not suggest any direct involvement outside of the offered donation.
  • Companies, however, may choose to get more involved in philanthropy by becoming partners of a charity fund or any other socially important cause. Consider proposing to your employees to adhere to the so-called “automatic payroll deductions”, an option of having their donations taken directly from their pay checks at levels that align with their budgets. Some businesses go even further and establish a special department within the HR unit dedicated to managing charitable offers, donations, gifts, and philanthropic programmes.
  • Annual Giving Programmes is another type of philanthropic initiatives: these are usually on a big corporate level where companies choose to donate a lump sum or a certain percentage of sales to a charity or a foundation.
  • Even though philanthropy is most often managed through financial contributions, it can also be in a form of dedicated time and internal resources. Try directly involving your employees in philanthropic activities: install a corporate volunteer programme or occasional days of service for employees. These initiatives add a purposeful component to the daily working routine, as the same time building an opportunity for colleagues to do something meaningful together and form stronger relationships.

Team spirit and employee engagement

As a matter of fact, when employees have a chance to work together on something out of the office, like volunteering, they mentally go beyond the frontiers of corporate hierarchy: people from different departments and seniority levels interact on a deeper level, creating new intrapersonal relationships and reaching new levels of team spirit, sense of belonging, and sharing the same company’s values. These dynamics significantly boost overall work satisfaction and, as a result, employee retention in the long run.

Moreover, take into account that new working generations, especially millennials and Generation Z, want to be employed by businesses that care. As CollegExpress duly notices, talking about Gen Z, “these digital natives are more global in their world-view than any previous generation. Many have grown up enjoying virtual interactions with members of their generation from across the globe, which means they’ve been quick to criticize unfair work practices and other varieties of poor corporate citizenship. Very likely that companies that don’t think seriously about how their brand is seen in terms of CSR may pay a steep price when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent and customers”.

That said, the benefits of corporate philanthropy are plenty – and it is especially evident when it comes to defining efficient staff retention strategies.

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