Sunday, July 4, 2010

Proof: CSR motivates employees

This article in Rileybiz entitled  "Can doing good make a difference in job retention and turnover?". Of course, as you might expect, the answer is YES!. The  article relates to research completed by the Center for Creative Leadership who surveyed over  2,000 employees internationally. The full report can be downloaded here. The key finding is that "the higher an employee rates their organization’s corporate citizenship, the more committed they are to the organization." The other interesting finding from the research is that the "relationship between perceptions of CSR and organizational commitment is different for women and for men. Our data show that the relationship between CSR and commitment is stronger for women than it is for men".

The thing that bothers me, however validating I might find these results, is the fact that no-one appears to have measured the real outcomes. It is easy to respond to a survey saying that you find CSR important. But how many employees ACTUALLY select their roles because of this, or make this a high factor in their employer selection, or ACTUALLY stay with companies because of CSR? Intuitively, we all know that companies with CSR values have a high appeal. Research such as this certainly helps reinforce that view. But I  would welcome someone, somewhere, doing some research of employees in businesses that have actually made these choices, and a correlation between this and turnover and retention, and overall business results. It's about time we had some real data, not just inferred correlations. Won't someone do that ? I would love to research actual employee choices based on CSR perceptions and values.  

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website


Laurie Alphonse said...

CSR is very important to me because of my background in human services but it is my experience that the further you get from front-line services the less important it becomes.

The better question might be does CSR translate to real change or is it window dressing or a morale exercise.

Anonymous said...

Elaine, the perennial question of what really motivates employee will remain forever and keep us HR professionals in the market for a long time!
Coming back to your post on the CCL survey, an employee may not select the company based on its CSR efforts, but she /he may stay committed to the company as a result of its CSR efforts -which provides the employee a satisfaction that comes with reaching out and making a difference in the community

elaine said...

Laurie, thank you for reading and for commenting. I believe CSR translates into very real change .. but .. of course depends on the specific company and its leadership!

Prince, yes, I agree that CSR is a factor in employee motivation and even retention - but I have still to see a piece of research which clearly onfirms this . Thanks for your comment!

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