Corporate social responsibility (commonly referred to as CSR) can be interpreted in a number of ways, but is generally known as the way a company holds itself accountable beyond financial self-interest and participates in the larger civic realm.
According to the Harvard Kennedy School, corporate social responsibility has to do as much with how a company makes their profits as it does with what they do with them. For example, a clothing retailer may partner with a non-profit organization to create a product that raises awareness for a specific social or culturally-topical cause. Typically in this scenario, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of said product is then directed to the partnering organization’s cause. The partnership provides both tangible (monetary) and symbolic (the positive public opinion based association of a brand with a cause) benefits for both the company and the cause.
Beyond supporting particular causes, corporate social responsibility should perhaps be evaluated and defined contemporaneously in a holistic manner – meaning, that beyond charitable donations or maintaining legal compliance, companies need to address their cumulative social, economic, and environmental impact. This includes their workplace and the community or communities in which they operate, as well as any and all related supply chains.
Corporate Social Responsibility Trends: Consumer Demand Helps Drive CSR Initiatives
Surprisingly, despite the obvious benefits of developing and committing to a CSR program, a 2007 SHRM Research pilot study that surveyed HR professionals on the presence of CSR in companies across the globe found that in the United States only 25% of companies had a formal CSR policy in place.
However, and more encouragingly, the study also found that 76% of publicly owned for-profit organizations in the United States had some form of corporate social responsibility policies in place. As the analysis of this pilot study put forth, these findings are likely due to the fact that publicly owned for-profit organizations have a more direct “cause and effect” relationship with consumers to be socially accountable in all business practices.
Incorporating CSR Into Your Internal Communication and Operations Strategy
In addition to bolstering overall brand reputation and cultural capital, did you know that CSR can be an invaluable component of an organization’s communication and operational strategy? There are a variety of actionable ways to incorporate CSR into your business that provide a multitude of benefits. CSR can touch every aspect of your organization, including but not limited to:
Employee engagement and retention. When employees feel aligned with your mission and vision, and share your philanthropic and CSR-related goals, they are more connected and are more likely to remain committed employees as a result.
Strengthening community recognition and involvement by providing frequent opportunities for your workforce to contribute through allotting a certain number of hours or days within their regularly scheduled workday to do so.
Diversity and inclusion advocacy. This idea extends to CSR in terms of workplace demographics and the support of diversity and inclusion efforts in your organization’s wider community, whether financially or in public solidarity.
Likewise, depending on your business and PR strategy, there are a number of ways to make your CSR efforts known.
Building your CSR goals and outcomes directly into your organizational mission and vision.
Sharing quarterly or annual updates via newsletters or on your website for external constituents, and on an operational communication platform for your internal teams (such as recording and posting a video of an all-hands meeting, or sharing meeting notes via document storage).
Partnering in intentional ways, such as events, with outside organizations you sponsor to be visible.
Beekeeper CSR: Helping to Save Bees One Wildflower at a Time
At Beekeeper, our CSR efforts extend into the broader community through our Bee Responsible initiative. Just like us, bees are highly sociable and organized, providing ample inspiration for our number one goal: supporting the vast, global dispersed workforce with real-time communication and productivity tools. The pollination bees provide is a central and necessary part of our ecosystem, and keeping it healthy and thriving. Without these flying friends, we wouldn’t have the food we eat; in fact, according to the Earth Day Network, crops pollinated by bees make up 35% of global food production.
"Saving the bees means investing in future sustainability and healthy environments for future generations. We want to address this problem and join our partners and friends who share our philosophy and already have done tremendous work to save the bees." –Cristian Grossmann, CEO and Co-Founder, Beekeeper
Sadly, due to various factors including climate change, habitat loss, and the use of bee killing pesticides, bee colonies are diminishing at an alarming rate. Our Bee Responsible initiative aims to create awareness around the extinction of bees, and to provide the very thing they need to survive –
Join us in saving the bees! Enter your information below and we’ll mail you seeds to get your own garden growing.