The term employee engagement relates to the level of an employee’s commitment and connection to an organization.¹ And although an increasing number of organizations understand the value of engagement, a Gallup survey found that only 34 percent of employees are actually engaged at work.²
That means companies have only scratched the surface when it comes to unlocking the full potential of their employees. Those looking to increase engagement can do so in a number of ways, including providing training and coaching, gathering and implementing employee feedback, and offering rewards and recognition.
One of the most effective ways to increase employee engagement, however, may be through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Studies show that CSR initiatives contribute to higher levels of employee engagement by fulfilling a central need among employees — finding purpose through work.
This article explores the advantages of improving employee engagement, as well as its connection to corporate CSR initiatives.
4 Benefits of Increasing Employee Engagement
Companies with high levels of employee engagement realize a wide range of benefits, including:
1. Increased Productivity
Engaged employees are more likely to show care and conscientiousness in their duties, which increases productivity.
2. Higher Retention
Engaged employees are less likely to leave. They have a greater sense of loyalty to the company and feel as though they are valuable members of the team.
3. Lower Absenteeism
Engaged employees show up for work more often. They are invested in the company and care about its success. Therefore, they want to be there to contribute and help advance the organization’s mission.
4. Higher Profitability
Engaged organizations achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times greater than their competitors, while those in the top quartile of engagement realize 21 percent higher profitability.³
The Link Between CSR Initiatives and Employee Engagement
CSR initiatives directly impact employee engagement levels, which in turns helps companies improve business results. Here are three ways CSR
CSR Initiatives Let Employees Express Themselves
A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found a significant relationship between employee perceptions of CSR and employee engagement, which was mediated by authenticity.⁴ The findings suggest that perceived CSR has the most substantial impact on employees when it allows them to show their whole selves at work. For employees, showing their whole selves meaning the ability to express their other interests outside of work, including family, community, and spirituality.
Because CSR initiatives allow employees to express interest in things like community service, environmental sustainability, and philanthropy — traditionally reserved for after work hours — employees feel more themselves and more connected to the company.
CSR Initiatives Help Employees Connect with Your Business and Their Team
CSR initiatives also foster a culture of team building by increasing the level of trust and communication among an organization’s employees. Service projects that take place in a more relaxed environment, outside of the office help employees to connect on a more personal level. It also helps teams to forge a closer bond by working together to achieve a common goal for the greater good.
CSR Initiatives Improve Your Company’s Reputation
People have a natural inclination to want to work for a company that makes a positive impact that they can be proud of. By building CSR into your business strategy, you’ll help build a reputation as a socially responsible company that improves local and international communities. That will improve how current employees feel about working for your company, leading to more engagement in their daily work.
An added bonus in this area? Engaged employees who are proud to work for you are also more likely to recommend your company to others, increasing your likelihood of attracting top talent.
CSR Initiatives Lead to Better Business Results
High levels of engagement improve organizational performance, promote employee retention, reduce absenteeism, and increase profitability. While there are many ways to increase engagement within an organization, CSR initiatives top the list for their ability to provide a boost to the company, the employee, and the community. Not only does CSR improve employee engagement, but it also makes a positive impact on your community and improves your brand reputation.
Most companies further their CSR initiatives through a dedicated CSR Solution, but you can also look into employee volunteering solutions and crowdsource ideas from your employees on how they want to get involved. Once you know more about what your staff is looking for, you can find the right solution for their needs.