From going green to volunteering, or taking part in charity initiatives, most organisations have touched on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity at one time or another. However, a common misperception about such activity exists. Many HR professionals perceive CSR as an optional ‘add on’ to their day to day job, undervaluing its significant impact on stakeholders, wider society and the organisation in its entirety.

Below I outline three benefits I have experienced from incorporating corporate responsibility into the workplace.

Attracting fresh talent

As the talent pool continues to become more diverse, the modern workplace is exposed to an array of employee needs, values and desires. Many prospective staff are yearning for personal fulfilment from the ability to make a positive stamp on the world around them.

HR professionals must consider how they can align the organisation’s CSR strategies with the core values of the prospective staff they wish to attract. This will become even more important in years to come, as millennials, who have proven to be more willing to work at an organisation that embraces a responsible operating model and culture[i], will constitute half of the workforce in fifteen years’ time[ii].

Employee retention

In addition to considering the requirements of prospective staff, successful organisations will look to involve existing employees in the CSR decision making process. By doing so, employees will feel personally empowered by ‘giving back’ and working together to make a positive difference to society.

Recently, we have seen organisations such as The Walt Disney Company introduce strategies that focus on staff involvement. Their ‘green standard’ was created with the aim of engaging and encouraging employees to reduce their environmental footprint both inside and outside of the workplace. With more than 60,000 staff contributing to the activity, the positive outcome was extensive.

Here at ADP UK, we have introduced similar strategies that encourage employees to come together and contribute to our local community. Our employees can put forward different CSR initiatives and join a dedicated committee, enabling them to feel part of an organisation that values ‘giving back’ as a core part of the company mission. With studies showing that over half of workers say they desire a job where they can make an impact, involving your employees in CSR can only positively affect their decision to stay on at the organisation.[iii]

Sustainable business

Being a ‘good corporate citizen’ means more than purely hitting financial targets and complying with regulation. Respecting and making a positive impact on the wider community is key. From providing jobs and ensuring employee wellbeing to developing a responsible supply chain, there are a number of ways organisations can strive towards a more sustainable business model.

But how can business leaders and HR professionals mirror such practices in their work? For example, IBM’s ‘innovation jam’, which encourages individuals across the globe to discover new solutions to long-standing sustainability problems[iv], has been a hugely successful initiative. This form of collaborative innovation can also be used by SMEs, as it utilises employees’ knowledge to discover ways to resolve sustainability issues.

Engaging employees in ways to increase sustainability will not only provide a wealth of ideas that could be particularly effective to the organisation, but will also increase employees’ knowledge about sustainable practice. Incorporating this into their working life, they will naturally contribute to a business model that positively impacts the society, and encourages business success, now and into the future.

Next-generation organisations will embrace their ‘higher purpose’ as a natural part of the business model, and corporate responsibility will no longer be seen as a separate concept. Existing and potential employee values are rapidly changing, along with business models and the need to strive for sustainability. In order to appease existing and potential staff, as well as contribute to greater business success, HR professionals should look into incorporating a more holistic view of their strategies and reap in the many benefits CSR provides both in the business and the wider community.


[iii] Web Recruit. (19 February 2015). Employer Branding: 6 Ways to Attract Top Talent with a CSR Strategy.


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