CSR may paint a pretty picture – but it gets real results too

Corporate Social Performance (CSP) – aka Corporate Social Responsibility – can often be swept under the rug in favour of more traditional money-making activities. However, zero efforts can be as strong a brand marker as a $1 million investment. So which end of the spectrum would you prefer to be closer to?

Here are three reasons why your organisation can benefit from a strong Corporate Social Performance strategy. 

 “We will attract higher quality candidates”

CSP improves your public reputation, leading to better quality recruitment candidates and more supportive behaviours from your audiences. Your organisation’s choices as to how, where, and to which charities they support help carve a distinctive brand, helping with awareness and desirability (as long as it’s aligned with an overall business strategy) and upping the game against your competitors. Other HR departments may scramble to put a Ping-Pong table in the break room to attract new talent, but savvy specialists know the demographic starting to shape our workforce – aka ‘millennials’ -  choose organisations that share their personal values, and are far less loyal to companies that focus on profits over people (see the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey for more info).

“It will help drive our marketing and communications strategy”

With CSP leading to more supportive behaviours from your audiences, your marketing and communications teams will love you. It gives them more content to work with, and messaging that can combat any asymmetry in the organisation’s perceived values and actions. CSP can be carried out in a range of ways – posthumous, parroting, proactive, partnership etc. – and your marketing and communications team can help advise and steer your CSP strategy to help get publics on board with your organisation’s story and values. While profits might not, or arguably should not, be your first priority with CSP activities, linking your choices to a marketing and communications strategy and tangible business outcomes will keep all of your stakeholders happy. And speaking of which…

“It will boost the share price”

With the constant internal push-and-pull between keeping public and financial stakeholders happy, you’ll be pleased to know that the higher a firm’s reputation among public stakeholders, the higher the firm’s financial performance. In other words, if the public is happy, your organisation makes more money, and your shareholders are happy. With CSP successfully boosting your organisation’s reputation, there shouldn’t be any share market surprises as a result of a company crisis – proactive messaging will protect you far more than the ‘posthumous’ efforts mentioned previously. Similar to the chicken and egg, effective CSP leads to better financial results, despite the oft-argued concept that it can only become a priority once an organisation is reeling in the profits. 

With a strong CSP strategy that touches and enhances the work of different departments, your organisation can be well equipped to attract better quality candidates, counter any undesirable public messages, and keep shareholders happy. Take care of society, and society will take care of you!

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