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Why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Culture are Crucial to Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

For companies to be competitive in the search for top talent it is important to address what is drawing employees to new jobs and what keeps them there.

When considering employee hiring and retention, companies have to move beyond traditional benefits packages. Incorporating a CSR strategy and improving culture helps attract and retain top talent, improve employee engagement and morale, give your business a positive brand image and reputation, increase sales, and improve client retention and customer loyalty. And remember, improving CSR and company culture will be most successful when change starts at the top.

What is CSR? There are four basic areas of corporate social responsibility:

  1. Environmental – recycling, waste reduction, energy efficiency
  2. Philanthropy – matching gifts or donations to charities of employees’ choice
  3. Ethical labor practices – responsible sourcing, good working conditions
  4. Volunteering – investing in community, team building

"The next generation of employees is seeking out employers that are focused on the triple bottom line: people, planet and revenue." - Susan Cooney, head of global diversity, equity and inclusion at Symantec

Millennials are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace.

Research shows that by 2020, millennials will make up 50% of the workforce. In addition to wanting a work/life balance, millennials want a balance of work, life, community involvement and self-development. Many of them grew up with volunteer activity being a graduation requirement and that mindset of giving back to the community stays with them. 64% of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work and won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility values, according to a 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study.

Millennials also tend to be less loyal to employers than previous generations, making it harder to avoid employee turnover. Cone Communications reports that in the U.S. 70% of employees (and 83% of millennials) are more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues.

How can you improve office culture and corporate social responsibility?

Intimidated about addressing your culture? Consider an office survey to let people give feedback about the office culture and what they would like to see your business doing differently both on a local cultural level and a national CSR level. Even small changes can make a difference. Can’t afford to have a fully-stocked kitchen? Try keeping healthy snacks on hand. Can’t bring in weekly office breakfasts? Try once a month.

How can your company address corporate social responsibility? Like office culture, even small things can make a big difference. Start small by making changes like improving recycling in your office. Not able to spend a full day volunteering at a food bank? Set up a collection box and hold a food drive in your office. OneDigital Carolinas also does activities like signing Valentine’s Cards for children in local hospitals and collecting cookies for the USO.

Matching gift programs

OneDigital has a G.I.V.E. program which matches an employee’s $50-$500 donation to an eligible nonprofit. A matching gift program shows employees that the company wants to support causes that they care about. As more millennials join the workforce this will be more important than ever.

Get involved in your community

One of the things that has become increasingly important for the OneDigital Carolinas team has been recognizing how critical it is to “give back” to the communities we serve.

For example, in our Charlotte market, we have learned that Charlotte ranks 50th (out of the top 50 large metropolitan cities) in upward mobility. As a result, our team has chosen to invest some of our time and financial resources to organizations that will help improve this reality for so many of our neighbors. This is one of many examples we have found to be well-received by our team and has contributed to our culture that we have worked hard at creating and protecting.

Support your employees and clients

It is important to show your employees and clients or customers that you care about what matters to them. One of our clients has an employee whose child was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Our team contributed to their fund to support them during his chemotherapy and treatments. Parking for one year alone costs over $11,000. It is easy to forget how fortunate we are. Helping co-workers brings people together and creates a sense of family. It can be as simple as choosing to volunteer at an organization that one of your employees is involved with.

One thing I love about working in this insurance industry is the opportunity to help families when they’re going through tough medical procedures. One of my colleagues, Michele Moffitt, wrote from experience about the importance of support after a difficult diagnosis. “The OneDigital Health and Benefits Special Opportunity Support (SOS) program provides peace of mind to our clients and their employees who find themselves overwhelmed by special circumstances.” We do this by cutting through red tape, explaining paperwork, and getting approval to work with carriers directly. No matter what industry you’re in, there is always a way to make a difference in people’s lives.

If your company is struggling to attract and retain talent you should evaluate your employee benefit package, CSR and culture. If you need assistance, contact your OneDigital representative. We're here to guide and assist in the process, pointing you in the proper direction as the employee benefits industry continues to evolve.

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