NPR.org recently posted an excellent article about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Millennial generation: “Corporate Ethics in The Era of Millennials".
What the article doesn’t cover is being a caring and responsible company involves more than community service, philanthropy and environmental stewardship. CSR must also include caring for employees, vendors and residents. This not only benefits society, but also makes business sense, as it impacts: employee recruitment, engagement and retention; resident recruitment, satisfaction and retention. Because of the latter two points, it also organically impacts reputation. A company is rewarded for being a caring and responsible member of society. Everyone can win – said another way, nobody has to lose.
Why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Millennials Matter
CSR is not a fad – it’s become an important topic, especially among young adults. The Internet has created transparency that has sadly unveiled too many stories of unethical business behavior, such as Turing Pharmaceuticals (5,000% overnight price hike on Daraprim), Sports Authority’s bankruptcy (Execs laid off 5,300 employees, then asked the bankruptcy judge to pay them multi-million dollar bonuses), VW (mpg and emissions scandal) and more. But the significance goes beyond headlines. Enter the Millennial generation.
Some question the importance of CSR, and others make less-than-complimentary comments about Millennials. But Millennials are forcing CSR to be much more than just part of a marketing slogan – they are demanding CSR become integrated into every company’s mission and practices. Tons of research about Millennials supports why attention on CSR has become critical:
- They are the largest segment of the U.S. workforce (Census Bureau)
- There are over 80 million Millennials in the marketplace (Census Bureau)
- 84% of their purchase decisions are impacted by perceptions of a company’s commitment to CSR (2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study)
- 39% research a company’s CSR work before a job interview (Forbes)
- 63% of job offer decisions by women and 45% by men are influenced by the company’s CSR work (Forbes)
Why Employee Engagement and Retention Matters
Employee disengagement and turnover have a significantly negative impact on a company’s performance, making employee engagement and retention a priority that will reap enormous rewards.
- Only 18% of employees nationally describe themselves as “engaged” with work and their employer (Gallup)
- Firms ranked in the top half of company employee engagement were 44% more profitable (Gallup)
- Employee turnover for the “100 Best Companies to Work For” is 30+% lower than that of the S&P 500 (Fortune)
- Minimum cost of turnover is 1.5 times the employee’s salary (CFO.com)
- Stock prices for Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” grew 2.3 times more than the S&P 500 over a seven-year period (Fortune)
- Employee turnover for the multifamily industry historically is high and exceeds 30% (National Apartment Association)
So what’s the new mantra for long term success? Company performance and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive. Everyone can win.