Companies to act as 'stewards of society' through CSR programs
- Business leaders are stepping up their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts to take a stand on social issues, said a new report from Deloitte and Forbes Insights. According to "The rise of the socially responsible business," a Deloitte Global survey, organizations will team up in 2019 to address computer literacy, education, climate change, income inequality and other social issues — pushing CSR to the forefront of their C-suite agendas and integrating it with financially-focused business strategies.
- In a survey of 350 business leaders, Deloitte found that 93% of the respondents think their companies are "stewards of society," and 95% plan to take greater stances on societal issues in 2019, committing significant resources to CSR initiatives. Most of the respondents (59%) said they currently devote between 1% and 5% of their revenues to socially responsible programs, while two-thirds said they increased CSR funding during the past two years.
- The American Psychological Association (APA) also published a related study focusing on whether and how employees can get their organizations to take up causes, such as reducing poverty, protecting the environment or expanding healthcare. The APA concluded that employees were more successful at getting an organization to buy into a cause when they made a moral case tied to the organization's mission and values, rather than its bottom line.
A 2018 MetLife survey found that 70% of employees want their employers to address social issues, and more than half want their companies to solve society's problems. In short, employees want and expect the companies they work for to be good corporate citizens, and employers are responding by putting CSR higher on their list of priorities.
However, the Deloitte survey raised the question of whether organizations can successfully mix social responsibility with financial performance. David Mayer, lead author of the APA study, concluded that they can, especially when causes are tied to their missions and values, instead of their financial performance. The results of the APA report back up the notion that social change can come from employees and rise to the ranks of management, not just from the top down. The power of CSR as a potential branding tool, also, can help employers attract and retain talent — one of the bigger organizational challenges going into 2019 and beyond.
Employers can expect more push from young workers to take up causes and help solve social problems. CSR is favored by 81% of millennials, according to a 2017 study. And in an even earlier study, 62% of millennials said they were even willing to take a pay cut to work for an organization that's socially responsible. In an era of acute talent shortages, employers can use their CSR initiatives to present a positive culture that attracts young workers.