Happiness is a Strong CSR Program

Trina MattADJ

Author: Trina Matta, Consultant

Companies may have a number of reasons for taking on a Corporate Social Responsibility program – wanting to help the environment and the community, aligning corporate values with actions, or creating a competitive advantage over companies that don’t participate in CSR. But one benefit that you might not think of is cultivating relationships with your employees. In 2013, Forbes interviewed corporate executives about the benefits of CSR and cause marketing, and found that of their interviewees, “51 of 59 believe that they have happier employees and 45 of the 59 believe they end up with better employees, either as a result of being able to attract better talent or that the CSR programs help to develop better employees.”

The premise is simple: employees today value being associated with an employer that is a good corporate citizen. So, for corporations to acquire and retain talented people, they need to expand their thinking beyond pay scales, bonuses and benefits packages. They need to strive to be better actors in their markets. This could mean sourcing greener materials, decreasing GHG emissions, designing for recyclability, or any number of initiatives that improve the company’s triple bottom line.

I experienced this firsthand during my tenure at an engineering firm. A year after I started, our office made the decision to relocate from a high rise building in the city to a nondescript, rigorously landscaped suburban office complex. One of the first things I noticed about our new office space, in addition to the deer and the lack of nearby lunch spots, was that there were no recycling bins, even in common areas. I saw this as a change for the worse in my employee satisfaction, and even mentioned it to upper management.

Not long thereafter, recycling bins appeared throughout the office space. Moreover, the company added the role of Corporate Social Responsibility leader to the roster, and we started engaging in a number of more responsible practices. I discovered that many of my coworkers found satisfaction in the new initiatives, and they wondered wistfully why we hadn’t done this sooner. They felt better about the company they worked for. Admittedly, a few of my coworkers thought it was a waste of effort and that “normal” work was more important; that was the right choice for them.

As for me, it made me want to work at the company, just a little bit more.


What do you think? Is a CSR program a “waste of effort” or can it benefit the employees, community, and company? Let us know in the comments section below!