2020 was the year many people started caring more about their employer’s reputation and its response to crises that affect society as a whole - whether it be COVID-19 or climate change.
But our recent study into corporate social responsibility (CSR) tells us that organisations that consult their employees on CSR - and allow them to get involved in any activities - are the ones that are more likely to see higher engagement and retention.
The impact of COVID-19
Once a box-ticking exercise, CSR has now become a fundamental source of pride, belonging and engagement for UK employees, especially during uncertain times. Here’s a snapshot of the main takeaways...
59% of employees are more likely to be engaged at work if their company participates in corporate social responsibility and/or charity initiatives
49% of organisations launched a CSR initiative related to COVID-19 during 2020
72% of employees rated their company’s COVID-19 CSR initiatives ‘effective’
82% of employees who have the opportunity to take part in CSR initiatives consider themselves proud of their company
“Reducing carbon footprint” is the number 1 initiative UK employees would like their organisation to focus on
And here’s a deeper dive into some of the headlines that jumped out to us in the main report...
1. 2020 caused a significant increase in importance of CSR
Now, 59% of employees say they’re more likely to be engaged at work if their company participates in corporate social responsibility and/or charity initiatives. That’s a significant 11 point increase from early 2020, when we ran a study into the importance of CSR in a pre-COVID world.
2. Half of businesses set up CSR projects in response to COVID-19
Half of businesses set up CSR projects in response to COVID-19. Mental health support for employees was top of the list, with employers recognising the emotional toll of the uncertainty and upheaval prompted by the pandemic. A strong majority of UK employees felt that their employer’s CSR efforts were effective.
3. The most successful CSR projects are based on employee feedback
56% of employees said that it was important or very important to them to be asked for their opinions, and having a say in CSR had an enormous effect on employees buy-in on projects. 81% of those who were consulted agreed with the initiatives and only 3 % disagreed.
4. Employees who can get involved in CSR are much, much prouder
An overwhelming majority of people - 82% - who were given the chance to contribute to CSR initiatives during 2020 say that they are proud to work for their company. Just 4% of those who had the opportunity to be involved said they weren’t proud.
5. The future of CSR is environmentalism
We asked employees what CSR initiatives they wanted to see, and environmental concerns come at the top of the list, including reducing the carbon footprint of their company. Charitable giving is also a high priority, with businesses helping to rebuild communities depleted by the effects of the pandemic.
Want to understand more about employee expectations around CSR? Download our new report