Posted June 1, 2017
Building a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy that truly impacts the vision and direction of a company can be a vital component of business success in the 21st century.
In addition to positively impacting people and communities, CSR initiatives have been directly linked to top and bottom-line growth, brand differentiation, customer loyalty and employee engagement in many instances. A meaningful and well-executed CSR strategy can also help attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive human capital market, especially in industries with large numbers of customer-facing frontline employees.
Here are some of the ways that giving back pays big dividends for companies with big hearts.
Attract. Retain. Engage.
In the contact center space, the key to exceptional customer service is an exceptional team. Despite earlier predictions, the total number of customer service agents is anticipated to grow in the next 2-3 years, with IDC reporting an an expected increase of between 10-50 percent. As a direct result, competition for highly-qualified candidates is heating up.
With exponentially more choices, candidates judge potential employers on more than just the standard set of benefits. Millennials in particular are looking to be part of something ‘bigger.’ They want to be inspired, to feel good about their employment choice and to join an organization that fits with their values. This often means seeking potential employers that support causes they are passionate about, or more broadly, that share their views on the importance of giving back.
In addition to attracting employees, CSR is also an emerging and increasingly important driver of employee retention and engagement. A report by Project ROI indicates that a year-round CSR program can reduce a company’s staff turnover rate by up to 50 percent while increasing employee engagement by up to 7.5 percent. Working at an organization where employees view their CSR efforts as positive, has a significant and favorable impact on how they rate their pride in the organization, their overall satisfaction, their willingness to recommend it as a place to work and their intention to stay.
From CSR to CX (customer experience)
Employees who work at companies with strong community ties also tend to have more positive attitudes in areas that correlate with better performance, such as customer service. In fact, according to recent Robert Half research, 61 percent of surveyed employees felt that volunteering helped them do their job better. These inspired and motivated individuals are the ones who become intrinsically engaged with your brand and are able to offer the empathetic and personalized service that engenders customer satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, as our society becomes increasingly aware and engaged in our ability to effect positive change, individuals and companies are making the decision to do business with CSR-focused brands and providers.
A day of golf or a day of giving?
When it comes to attracting clients and winning new business, the days of building relationships on a golf course or over lunch may be numbered. Inviting current and prospective clients to participate in a volunteer activity alongside your employees offers them a glimpse into the heart of your organization and provides a deeper understanding of your culture and values.
According to a paper commissioned by Mandrake, a global recruitment firm, CSR is most effective when employees play the role of the actual enactor of CSR programs, with the company acting as an enabler. In the case of TELUS International, TELUS Days of Giving activities are a perfect example of how engaging employees, as well as their families and friends, in large-scale volunteer activities in their community can foster a sense of pride, teamwork and unity towards a common goal. Clients often join the volunteer activity and report feeling a deep sense of pride and accomplishment after putting in a hard day’s work alongside their partner team.
Last year marked the 10-year anniversary of these popular events at TELUS International that continue to grow in size and scope, now taking place in 11 locations around the world. Since 2006, more than 40,000 individuals have volunteered over 340,000 hours, to make a positive difference in the lives of over 70,000 citizens worldwide. Working hand-in-hand, team members have built entire schools in Central America, refurbished youth centers in Eastern Europe and constructed villages from the ground up for the homeless in the Philippines.
Achieving the maximum benefits of a CSR program demands that companies view it as a strategic imperative, devoting the corresponding level of attention and dedication. When CSR activities are executed with care and commitment, all stakeholders stand to benefit – customers, executives, frontline team members, and especially the communities that need it most.