Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been an increasingly important part of doing business for the past decade. Gone are the days when corporations were seen only as profit-making entities, businesses are now judged by how they contribute to society. If your business has yet to join the CSR community, you may not realize that there are many benefits of CSR that don’t just impact the groups and communities you support, but also your own organization. Multiple studies have shown that there are tangible benefits of CSR for businesses, ranging from employee satisfaction to community leadership.
One of the hidden benefits of CSR
While most articles talk about the benefits of CSR on its recipients, they often forget to consider one of the most important stakeholders: employees. Every business wants to have employees feel proud of the work they do. No one wants to feel like going to work is a burden or punishment. Often businesses try to circumvent employee dissatisfaction by creating team-building programs or training workshops, but perhaps one easy way to create team unity and job satisfaction is simply to get involved in CSR.
The Journal of Management Studies explains that employees feel a greater sense of emotional and mental investment in organizations that are socially responsible. Knowing that you work for a company that has nobler goals than just making money inspires people to feel positive about work. They’re more likely to see the organization’s success as part of their own success.
This improves employee retention and commitment to your business. In fact, employees are more likely to make positive contributions, and the passion they put into work can lead to creative breakthroughs.
Marketing benefits of CSR
The benefits of CSR don’t just stop at your employees and the community—don’t forget that customers are part of the deal too. Marketing experts have long talked about turning customers into superfans, and an important part of being a superfan is a sense of pride and engagement.
CSR pioneer Patagonia’s superfans have made the company’s sales skyrocket in the past couple of years, thanks to their commitment to environmental causes. By letting customers know that your business also shares their values and concerns, you’re allowing them to engage more closely with you. CSR programs can also involve customers, allowing them to feel like they can contribute more than just their dollars and making them part of your mission.
Furthermore, now that social media rules marketing and branding, your CSR initiatives can help boost your social media presence. Engagement is key to social media success, and there’s nothing more engaging for current and potential customers than joining a cause that reflects their values.
Leadership benefits of CSR
Being a trusted authority in the community or within a specific social cause is also one of the benefits of CSR. Just like Patagonia, if your business’s CSR program puts you in a leadership role, you get an opportunity to maximize your impact. For example, Patagonia has used their role to mobilize other companies and communities to rally around environmental issues, from national causes to local concerns. They also use their platform to help influence government policy to create environmental protections and to raise the voices of those who are impacted by climate change.
Being a CSR leader also means that you get to help raise the standards of social impact on communities and showing the way to others. You get to hold other businesses to account and pressure them to start creating a positive impact on the community as well, creating a domino effect of giving.
With all the signs pointing to CSR becoming the new normal of doing business, it’s time to start considering how your business can provide contributions to communities and causes. The effects on your company and your bottomline may be invaluable.