Great Resignation and Corporate Social Responsibility: How it impacts your business

In today's video, you'll learn the impact of the great resignation on corporate social responsibility programs. We explore how businesses have or haven't adapted and strategies to update your CSR programs. We also discuss how employees should have even more say in driving your social impact programs.

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What we discussed:

Karl Yeh:  

So our special guest today is Kathryn Pisco. She is the Director of Goodness Solutions with Benevity, [00:00:30] and we're going to talk about corporate social responsibility and the Great Resignation today. So Kathryn, let's do a quick overview.

What is the Great Resignation?

Kathryn Pisco:              

Yeah, it is definitely upon us.

Essentially, the Great Resignation is something we've noticed that has happened basically since April, when the pandemic began, of people leaving their jobs.

Some of the most recently updated numbers that I [00:01:00] saw, was about four and a half million U.S. workers quit their job in November of 2021, and that number rises to over 25 million if extended back to April.

So people are leaving their jobs for a variety of complex reasons, but it's a trend that we've continued to see.

Karl Yeh:                       How have you seen companies adapt to this, if they even are adapting?

How are businesses adapting to the Great Resignation?

Kathryn Pisco:              

I'm sure there is a lot [00:01:30] of adapting going on.

A lot of scrambling.

This is a huge complex challenge.

One thing that we've seen is that one of the reasons that people are leaving their job is that the modern employee will no longer really settle for profit without purpose.

I was reading this really interesting article in Groundswell, and it was really talking about how the modern employee wants their work and life to integrate with their values, and they want [00:02:00] their employer to help them express that.

So through that lens, and especially since that's how I look at companies, is through that corporate social responsibility lens, we've seen that a lot of companies see an opportunity to

  • revamp,
  • make their CSR programs a little more decentralized,
  • putting a little bit more power into the hands of their employees,
  • allowing them to choose who they want to give to, or initiate the volunteerism,

instead of what we saw in the past, which was companies saying, "Okay, we have these three pillars, and we'd like everyone to give and volunteer within them."

So that's one major trend we've seen.

We've seen companies deciding to pivot and evolve within the CSR space, really trying to reinvent these CSR programs to help lead to retaining some of these employees, and recruiting some of the top talent that's out there because of the Great Resignation.

Karl Yeh:             

So let's actually touch on that. Corporate social responsibility and the Great Resignation, how are they tied together?

How are the Great Resignation and CSR tied together?

Kathryn Pisco:              

Well, I think employee engagement, CSR, and the Great Resignation, there's not necessarily a straight correlation that CSR and employee engagement [00:04:00] leads to, or contributes to the Great Resignation.

I think it's actually the opposite way.

I think that CSR and employee engagement are both very important aspects to a company now, and because of the Great Resignation are becoming even more important.

We've been saying for years, CSR is no longer just nice to have, or a box to check.

It's something that's really a business imperative. We've seen that for years because of the true ROI on having CSR programs, but I [00:04:30] think it's even more important now because of the Great Resignation.

Companies are really utilizing CSR as a way to build company loyalty, build their brand, improve their culture, increase employee retention if they can, and also really recruit top talent.

As I mentioned before, today's employees are looking for different things now than they have in the past.

So I think companies are [00:05:00] shifting and pivoting many aspects, one of which is their CSR and/or employee benefit programs to really be more appealing to their employees.

Karl Yeh:                      

Now, you mentioned that employees are looking more for purpose into their work.

Is that more pervasive because of the Great Resignation? Is it just been because they have more options?

For example, instead of working localized in their own region, or their own community, or wherever [00:05:30] that would be, or province, or state, they now have an opportunity to work pretty much across the world because of the technological uptake of things like Zoom, or Teams, or so on.

Is that part of what they're really looking for in addition to purpose at work, salary, and so on?

How is purpose connected to what modern employees look for in their careers?

Kathryn Pisco:              

I think it's multiple factors.

I definitely think the Great Resignation is playing a role in this, but even looking back before the Great Resignation, this was a trend we were already seeing just with the [00:06:00] younger generations coming up through the workforce.

So Gen Z and Millennials, data shows that purpose is extremely important.

So I actually pulled a couple, knowing we might talk about things like that.

I pulled a couple stats that I can mention, but even before the Great Resignation, we saw the Edelman Trust Barometer showing that companies are the most trusted institution now for their employees, but that [00:06:30] they need to be taking actions that support their employees in a very genuine way. It can't just be lip service.

We've seen that 63% of Millennials essentially, so workers under 35, which I think we all know, think that the primary purpose of business should be improving society instead of generating profit.

Gen Zs are even more committed to causes.

So, on social media right now, they share content related to environmental, human rights, [00:07:00] political, or social issues even more than Millennials.

82% of Millennials consider CSR efforts when deciding where to work, and 84% want their companies to actually see them get more involved in their communities.

So not only are they looking for their companies to support certain causes, but they expect them to help the individual, help the employees get more involved.

We've also seen this to be the case with [00:07:30] how people decide to spend their money. So this is a little bit different, but just to show how powerful that is, 88% of both Millennials and Gen Z would prefer to buy a product from a purpose-driven brand, and 74% would be willing to tell others to buy from that same brand.

So I know that's going off a little bit in terms of habits [inaudible 00:07:52], but I think it really paints the picture of what this younger generation, or generations are looking for.

63% of Millennials think that the primary purpose of business should be improving society instead of generating profit

I think that's [00:08:00] amplified even more now that we've had COVID and the Great Resignation, are still in both at the time.

It's not necessarily that great for companies because they're losing good people, but it's advantageous to individuals, because there's so much more opportunity out there, and you can be a little bit more picky.

You can leverage certain aspects. Oh, do they have this benefit, or what's their CSR program look like? So I think when you combine those things with the trends that you already saw happening, [00:08:30] plus the fact that the Great Resignation is happening, I think you see all of these things happen.

Karl Yeh:                      

What's interesting is about aligning company value with the actual benefits too, because several organizations I've either worked for or consulted for in the past, I've seen a lot of talking about their values, but sometimes they come up short with the actual implementation, or showing [00:09:00] that they actually live by those values.

It's interesting now that you can't just get away with that, because there's a lot more employees who have opportunities and options that they are actually looking for organizations and businesses that truly walk the walk.

Kathryn Pisco:              

Yeah, just even with the cancel culture we see now, not only do you have to really walk the walk, there's so much more opportunity to really evaluate, even just all the articles being written [00:09:30] about the Great Resignation, or about employee benefits, about CSR now than ever before, you can follow up and see what these companies are actually doing, and see if it's a genuine action, or if it's just lip service.

So I think it's becoming more and more important to make sure that it's actually not only tied to business, but done in a really genuine way that's integrated into the entire business strategy, as opposed to just a box-checking exercise.

Karl Yeh:                      

[00:10:00] Do you see a shift where... Over the last couple years that I've been part of corporate purpose, corporate social responsibility, I've seen a lot of organizations have been trying to drive it either top down, or administrative through, buying software and so on, but do you think with the Great Resignation and so on, that it actually empowers the employees to actually drive their CSR program even more?

Are employees more emboldened to drive their CSR program?


Kathryn Pisco:              

Absolutely. [00:10:30] I definitely think that what's happening now is only helping employees to have a little bit more power in terms of getting what they want out of work, out of life, out of corporate and personal purpose.

We've seen that the most successful CSR programs really give employees choice to support the causes that they care about.

So I think [00:11:00] that we're only going to continue to see that as a trend, and the companies that go with that, and support that are going to really rise to the top.

Question of the Day:

How has the Great Resignation impacted your company? Have you changed or added corporate purpose as part of your business?