Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities are increasingly delivering commercial and social benefits to Singapore’s business community. Part of the ‘doing well by doing good’ ethos of CSR is that it plays a key role in attracting and retaining high calibre employees.
CSR programmes do more than promote environmental and social well-being as evident in research which confirms that half of the largest companies in Singapore link CSR initiatives to a competitive advantage.
Not only are CSR activities a strategic growth driver, they can also forge positive relationships and reputations, which can be the foundation for building a strong workplace team.
There are five ways through which CSR can help a company become an employer of choice.
1. Making your company an attractive place to work
Employees now want more from their employer than a pay cheque. They want a sense of purpose and fulfillment from their work and a company whose values matches their own. The workplace team is a key audience of CSR activities and carefully considered CSR initiatives can help the company attract, motivate and retain top talent.
According to a Nielsen Global Survey on CSR, 67% of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company. Separate research also shows that 85% of Singapore companies say CSR programmes are helping them to build relationships with their employees through activities such as volunteering.
A 2015 study by the Lewis Institute found that a company’s commitment to CSR can reduce staff turnover rate by up to 50%. In addition, productivity can increase by up to 13% and employee engagement can rise by 7.5%.
2. Attracting millennial talent
To buffer an imminent talent exodus that could occur from an ageing population, Singaporean employers are prioritising the attracting and retaining of the next generation to drive their organisations into the digital future. Research has shown that 23% of Chief Information Officers in Singapore believe that the number one factor that would alleviate IT skills shortage is to promote IT as an attractive career path for millennials and Generation Z professionals.
CSR can play a key role in attracting a younger generation of talent as millennials often prefer employers who are aligned to their beliefs. A PWC report has found that 59% of millennials are attracted to employers whose CSR values match their own. In addition, the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 found that one in two employees from Generation Y or Z wish to positively impact the community and society. This highlights the need for a structured approach to CSR to attract millennial talent.
CSR initiatives can also help to retain younger professionals. The same Deloitte survey noted that the social impact of a company was a leading factor behind employee loyalty among Gen Y employees who had stayed with the same company for five years and above.
3. Opportunities for skill development
Encouraging loyalty in top talent often hinges on providing opportunities for professional development. A CSR programme can incorporate this by providing volunteering opportunities. This allows the company to demonstrate good corporate citizenship while encouraging staff to develop new skills.
For instance, corporate volunteering can enhance soft skills such as teamwork. Fundraising activities can promote leadership, collaboration and event management skills. In fact, 76% of millennials report that volunteering helps to hone their leadership skills and 75% say that it fosters other skills they can apply in the workplace.
4. Boosting morale
According to a US research, seven out of ten business leaders say that their CSR programmes have positively impacted employee morale.
Events such as volunteering allow employees to get to know colleagues who they may not usually interact with. This helps to build relationships across the company, increase trust between staff of different seniority levels and across different departments.
Volunteer work can also be personally satisfying to employees as it creates a sense of accomplishment beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, hence underpinning greater optimism in the workplace.
5. Reducing workplace stress
With a highly competitive business environment and long working hours, research found that 78% of Singaporean business leaders expect the stress levels of their teams to rise in the future.
The main causes of growing workplace stress in Singapore are believed to be increased workloads, increased business expectations, tighter deadlines and a competitive marketplace.
Stress is a drain not only on an employee’s well-being but also on the organisation. Employees who are burned out or chronically stressed are more prone to illness and absenteeism, and generally show signs of decreased morale – all of which can negatively impact business productivity.
In an attempt to effectively manage workplace stress, the overwhelming majority (94%) of Singaporean business leaders are taking measures to reduce stress through measures such as having flexible working hours or hosting social gatherings.
CSR could be beneficial in situations like this as it allows employees to connect with coworkers and inculcate a sense of belonging. Engaging in CSR programmes calls for an investment of time, effort and resources. However, research continually affirms that CSR delivers a positive return on investment. The best asset of any business is its people, and a tailored approach to CSR can help a company attract and hold onto top talent, thus building a more productive and engaged workforce in the process.
Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard | Managing Director | Robert Half Singapore
With over 10 years of experience operating in Asia, Matthieu is responsible for all of Robert Half’s operations in Singapore as well as Protiviti - Managed Business Services. Matthieu’s extensive experience recognises him as an expert for solving complex recruitment and project challenges for both executive stakeholders and clients. His consultative approach and unique ability to match personalities, whilst assessing executive talents, allows him to successfully identify key C-Level profiles for his clients with the professional discretion required.