How businesses can use responsible business to engage their employees

Adam Garfunkel (Managing Director, Junxion Strategy) tells us why social purpose is more important than ever to today’s working population. He shares top tips on how all organisations can use responsible business to engage their employees.

“Engagement drives motivation. Motivation drives performance,” said every HR manager, ever. Because this truth lies at the heart of all HR programmes: engaged staff perform better.

The data backs this up. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, business units in the top quartile on engagement are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable than those in the bottom quartile.

 CSR means more work and less churn

Productivity is a big issue for the UK. The news is full of how it has flatlined for the past ten years leading to sluggish economic growth and stagnating pay. The millennial generation is the first not to earn more than the previous generation in over 70 years.

But therein lies part of the answer. That millennial generation – those people born roughly in the 80s and 90s – are already more than a third of the global workforce. As well as wanting to earn well, they expect businesses to act responsibly. But according to Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey, two-thirds feel that companies are only interested in making profits.

And that is a problem for your business. Because you risk losing good talent to your competitors unless you show your millennial employees that they can live their values at your work. And replacing good people is not only a faff, it also costs you yet more lost productivity until those new people are up to speed. An Oxford Economics report from 2014 estimated the real costs at over £30,000 per member of staff.

 So how can you use CSR to engage your employees?

My top three tips are:

  1. Articulate your social purpose. Why does your business exist? What is the positive difference you seek to make? A recruitment consultancy is not just about “making money from CVs” it’s about helping individuals get into work and supporting companies to find the best people for their business. “Make money for the owners” will not motivate people to turn up for work. But making a difference to people’s lives will.
  2. Share stories and data. Tell your people what your CSR programme aims to achieve and share the stories of your successes. People love a good story. So, our recruitment consultancy might offer local unemployed school-leavers the chance to spend time in the office and learn about the world of work. They can gather data about how many young people were helped in a year. And they can profile one young person who went on to get a job and cites what they learnt at the recruitment firm as a crucial step in their journey. Now you’ve got your people emotionally engaged in their work.
  3. Use volunteering and pro bono opportunities to build strengths. Better than the apocryphal “painting the scout hut” is finding creative ways for people to do what they do for a good cause. In a law firm, that might be diligently ensuring people use their pro bono hours. For digital identity company Yoti it means encouraging its people to work as mentors with the Coderdojo movement which develops coding skills in young people. Employees who can build their strengths are more likely to be motivated by their work, according to Gallup.

And one bonus tip to help you succeed. Make a plan and delegate responsibility for running the CSR programme to employees from across the business. Younger, less experienced members of staff get the opportunity to shine in front of their colleagues and will feel more invested in their work. After all, responsible business is about building a better future: for your business, your employees and for the world around you.

Adam Garfunkel runs Junxion Strategy’s London office. Junxion integrates strategy and planning, branding and communications, and impact reporting to help organisations thrive in the new economy where business is a force for good in the world. Junxion has recently worked with Heart of the City on its purpose and communications and works across many sectors including professional and financial services.

To learn more about ‘Supporting staff retention and recruitment through responsible business activities’, join Heart of the City’s webinar (for members only) on 17th July 2018.



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