Corporate social responsibility is a talent engagement strategy

Corporate social responsibility is a talent engagement strategy

Building a comprehensive corporate social responsibility strategy

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly becoming a cornerstone of modern business strategies, driving organisations to adopt more human-centric and people-focused approaches. Socially responsible organisations prioritize meeting employees’ social and emotional needs, creating a positive workplace culture and fostering community engagement.

Kelsey Williams - Senior Programme Director – Pontoon Solutions

Kelsey Williams
Senior Programme Director

But what does it mean to be a socially responsible employer of choice?

These days, not all Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies are created equal. Successful programmes integrate ESG into overall business objectives – rewarded with the financial benefits of ethical behaviour in the marketplace. However, many organisations have no social strategy. They make vague promises to keep up with their competition, alienating future talent.

Simply checking the ESG boxes is not sustainable or impactful. It takes time and resources to understand what works and what does not. Leaders are becoming more intentional and evolving their corporate ESG programmes to drive economic impact and social progress. Also, by marketing ESG priorities externally, organisations attract new diverse talent and customers who care about the organisation’s positive impact within their community.

Leveraging ESG to attract talent

Elevating your social impact will help attract and retain your future workforce. There is a direct relationship between ESG performance and attracting candidates in a competitive environment. This will differentiate your company in the marketplace as you integrate these strategies into the way you do business and your overall talent management process.

Aligning values to the future workforce

By 2029, Millennials and Gen Zers will make up close to 75% of the world’s workforce, compared to 52% in 2019.

Younger generations highly value social responsibility in their personal and professional lives. In their job search, prospective candidates look for companies that support the causes they love. These candidates must believe in your community impact mission. Your brand must speak to candidates as individuals and be front and centre during their recruiting experience.

Competing in the market will always be essential, but top talent looks for much more than a paycheck. Ensuring your employer brand is synonymous with making an environmental and social impact is a powerful tool. Hiring managers are also responsible for leveraging this brand power to highlight unique candidate opportunities when joining your organisation. This takes awareness of the available workforce and knowing that you are as much of a prospect for them as they are for you.

Strategies for boosting social credibility

Invest in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Employee Resource Groups are a great way to unite workers with shared values and lifestyle interests. These groups are encouraged to live their values out at work and promote trust in the worker/employer relationship. You are telling them that their values matter and are embedded in your ESG programme and company culture.

Highlighting and celebrating these groups will also have the added benefit of growing your candidate pipeline. Participants will naturally learn more about the environmental and social causes they care about, developing subject matter expertise in their given subjects.

At Pontoon, we have various Employee Resource Groups established to help build connections among our colleagues. By celebrating our differences and highlighting our people, we are more unified and collaborative at work and when engaging our clients. Additionally, we create space to add a little fun into our daily routines by sharing stories, favourite recipes and the occasional game of bingo.

Support causes that connect

Show workers that they matter by partnering with popular social impact organisations.

For employees to drive impact in their local communities, there must be an outlet for them to volunteer or raise funds for their favourite non-profit. This will enable them to lead, participate in and contribute to projects that maximise the impact of their engagement.

Whether feeding the homeless in their community or advancing equitable access to employment for underserved populations, your workers will positively impact their community. This will help reduce attrition and create a lasting bond between the worker and your organisation.

Organisations investing in a foundation of newly skilled, upskilled and reskilled workers are building a talent strategy for long-term success. Pontoon supports several internship programmes, partnering with non-profit organisations that provide skills training, mentorship & experience for young adults and underserved populations. Our team selects causes they are passionate about to educate others, donate material resources, and invest their time in making a difference.

Think local

Supporting and engaging with local suppliers and vendors drives a positive economic impact on the communities where your talent lives and plays. Corporate social responsibility initiatives are essential in this effort.

Supporting small and diverse-owned companies is a critical component of a robust ESG programme. By driving diversity-owned supplier initiatives, you are investing in and strengthening the communities where you live, work, and do business.

As organisations continue to evolve corporate ESG strategies, including DE&I spend initiatives, it is important to recognise and advocate for the use of diversity-owned suppliers. These firms require mentorship and sponsorship from you and their workforce solution providers to navigate large and complex enterprises.

People want to work with a company that cares for its people – where they have shared values and impact the world in a bigger way. Creating pathways to socially responsible behaviour will attract talent and open the door for internal career development, social change, and empowered workers loyal to your brand. Corporate social responsibility plays a crucial role in achieving these goals.

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