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In today's episode, we discuss the top seven benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility for businesses from talent attraction and retention to increased revenue and brand value.  

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Karl Yeh: 

Now, today I'm joined by Nicole Campbell, CSR expert, and we're going to talk about

What Are the Top Seven Benefits of Having a Corporate Social Responsibility Program?

I can't speak today. So Nicole, can you lead us off? What are these top six?

Nicole Campbell:

Yes, it would be my pleasure. [00:01:00]

This is something that a lot of social impact practitioners ask because we're often trying to build that case for getting more budget, resources and even just trying to get those executives and employees behind these programs.

So the benefits we'll be talking about today are just within the corporation, not extending to the impact scene on communities.

1. Attracting talent

So the first is attracting talent.

[00:01:30] By 2020, did you know that 50% of the workforce is actually going to be made up of millennials and falling with gen Z next year to be around 75% of the workforce?

The reason why this is important is because

82% of millennials consider CSR efforts when deciding where to work, and 70% are actually willing to take a 30% pay cut to work for a company with strong social values

and that's according to Cone Communications.

So it's really important in the talent, where it exists right now, to have these strong CSR [00:02:00] programs that are going to attract the right talent and make sure that they're getting the best candidates for the job.

In addition to that, 67% of employees said that they actually expect their prospective employers to join them and taking action on societal issues, and that's Edelman.

Karl Yeh:

So I can't imagine all industries are thinking about 75, or was it 75% of millennials that expect their employee to to have some sort of social. [00:02:30] It's just hard to believe that all industries have that.

Nicole Campbell:

Yeah, it's really interesting. It's just the generation is very socially conscious and it's absolutely accurate. The Cone Communications study that I reference is based for US workers, I should add.

There are variances, I'm sure, around the world, but in general, yeah, all industries.

2. Talent retention

Number two, retaining talent. [00:03:00]

So according to a Benevity study that we conducted recently, did you know that for the companies that have programs where their people are actively engaged in the giving and volunteering component of their CSR program saw a 57% reduction in turnover for those employees? 

In addition to that, according to a Cone Communication study, 74% of Americans say that their job is actually more fulfilling when they're provided with opportunities to make a positive social [00:03:30] impact on social and environmental issues.

So when you're thinking about how you can help retain talent and thinking about how you can solve for your business in a meaningful way, these programs absolutely hit the mark there.

Then in addition to that, I think these are somewhat related to retaining talent.

If you haven't checked out Deloitte's social impact study on millennials, they have some pretty interesting results.

  • 84% of millennials want their company [00:04:00] to help them identify ways to get more involved in the communities.
  • 83% of millennials wish that their employer would provide volunteer opportunities that they could do, not just at work, but with their friends and family. And 
  • 83% of millennials want their company to provide support and resources for, ready for it? Not just to make a positive social and environmental change at work, but also at home.
So the expectations that employees have on their prospective and existing companies, it's really changed, especially [00:04:30] with millennials.

Karl Yeh:

That's really interesting in terms of not just at work, but also at home.

So it isn't just about maybe showing you doing good at work, but what do you do after work? What are some external activities after the fact?

Nicole Campbell:


This goes back to really making sure that your program that you set up, especially as it relates to employees, is really open.

They can give to causes that they care about, [00:05:00] that you're incentivizing them to get involved in these causes too.

So say maybe it's volunteer awards for them, or you could even do matching programs that extend beyond just the employee, but you could match to consumers or to friends and family.

You can develop your program to really support your people in the way that they expect and want.

3. Developing Talent

Number three, developing talent. So this is a biggie.

There are only so many ways that you can grow [00:05:30] your talent, and social impact that actually is proving to be one of the ways you can do that.

According to a Deloitte social impact study, 92% of respondents agreed that volunteering actually improves their employees' broader professional skill sets.

92% of respondents agree that volunteering is an effective way to improve leadership skills.

And 80% of respondents said that active volunteers move more easily into leadership roles, which I thought was really interesting too.

Karl Yeh:

So when you're talking about developing talent, [00:06:00] does that mean just CSR professionals or is it actually talent across the board, whatever position that person is in for that company?

Nicole Campbell:

Oh, right. No. So that's a great question.

So CSR is the program that's empowering opportunities for their people to develop them. So basically, what it's saying is when a company has a really strong volunteering program, especially a skills-based volunteering program, employees are able to go out, use [00:06:30] these opportunities to either hone in on a specific skill that they've been working on.

Maybe it's leadership skills, or maybe if you're in marketing and you're trying to learn how to do web development or something like that for a not-for-profit, you're developing these skills through the volunteering opportunities that are provided to you through your employer.

4. Marketing and Communications

Nicole Campbell:

Number four, marketing and communications.

So 76% of buyers say that companies that are addressing social environmental issues let them feel like they're doing their part.

This is Porter and Valley.

They feel like they have this expectation of the brands that they support to be giving back as well. [00:07:30]

To that point, 79% of buyers say they want companies to support the issues that matter to them personally.

So it's not just a company getting behind their own cause pillars.

They want to know that these companies are supporting a variety of causes in the communities that their consumers live and work in.

That's another Porter and Valley stat.

According to Edelman, if you're familiar with brands that take a stand, check [00:08:00] that out. If you aren't, it's a great report.

One in two buyers are belief driven, meaning that they would choose, switch or even boycott a product based on the company stand on societal issues.

Then of those belief driven buyers, 67% bought a brand for the first time because of its position on a controversial issue, and 65% will not buy a brand because it stayed silent on an issue that it had an obligation to address [00:08:30].

So even in the consumer world, these expectations are very, very strong on companies to be doing the right things and be doing them authentically.

Karl Yeh:

Well, it's interesting because we've seen people say, "Hey, we shouldn't be buying from this brand because they're not responding to this," or they've stayed silent," or they're perpetuating some sort of activity. Right? It's an interesting [00:09:00] way.

Because I remember when I grew up, yeah, you kind of went like that, but brands were brands and there was no major expectation for them to take an action.

But now, it isn't just about selling the product or the service, it's really about taking the action and backing up those values and mission statements that they have.

Nicole Campbell:

Yeah. It's actually creating a really exciting movement amongst [00:09:30] a lot of the big brands out there that are standing behind causes or not-for-profits that could have been considered controversial in the past.

So for instance, even CVS, they stopped selling cigarettes in their stores because they saw themselves as a health organization and that created some really amazing positive press around the work that they were doing.

If you think about what we just shared [00:10:00] earlier on millennials and their expectations on employers to be doing these good things, they're the same consumers.

So it makes sense that they are not going to support brands that are not doing your part.

5. Increased revenue for those who invest in social purpose

Number five, so companies that 6% higher market value and 20% more revenue outperforming companies that don't invest in social purpose.

That's according to Project ROI.

So we're getting into the dollars and cents here, which I think is going to be helpful when you're trying to pitch [00:10:30] the benefits of these things within your organization.

6. Value comes from Social Brand

Number six, 7% to 11% of a company's value comes from the firm's CSR brand and/or reputation.

That comes from a Gallup study in 2013.

7. Intangible assets

Last, but not least, number seven.

This is a big one.

According to Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, intangible assets now account for 68% of the book value [00:11:00] of the S&P 500.

So this is up from 35% in 1999. What that means basically, is that the reputational damage from a governance scandal or an environmental catastrophe is more likely to do long lasting damage to a company's market value than it might have even two decades ago.

So it's a pretty big deal

Karl Yeh:

Because people remember those kinds of things, right? I don't know.

I think it's easy to pick on oil.

If [00:11:30] they're a shipping container carrying oil, springs a leak, or sinks in the middle of a bay, the environmental impacts are long lasting that people will remember that company, and people are afraid of those things having had happened, but as well as different, I'm sure we can come up with a whole bunch of different examples, of those kinds of cases where it is your reputation. [00:12:00] Just one small incident, and you might not consider it big, but people consider it huge.

That takes years, if not decades, to really repair.

Nicole Campbell:

No, I feel like, especially if you're newer in the space, definitely check out the Deloitte study, the millennial studies social impact study.

Gallup has a wealth of information on the work that we do and Project ROI is a really compelling stat. [00:12:30]

So you can download any of those reports online and you'll have all of the information you need right in front of you.

Learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility:


Question for you

What benefits and/or lasting impacts have you experienced as a result of your CSR program?

The Social Impact Show publishes new content weekly so check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from CSR experts. 

About Nicole Campbell:

Nicole’s passion for behavioral science plays a key role in her ability to help organizations manage and adapt to change. 

Nicole has worked with companies of all sizes, industries, program varieties, and varying levels of executive support — and has had a hand in designing or growing Social Impact programs for some of the biggest brands out there. Her role, working with so many different companies, has provided her with a wealth of experience, data and anecdotes that have shaped a strong understanding of what works, what doesn’t and what’s next.