Employer Branding

Why CSR is the Key to an Effective Employer Brand

It’s a candidate’s world out there. There are currently more vacancies than people available to fill them, and a skills-short UK is enabling the most talented workers to cherry-pick their roles. These talented candidates are looking for more than a good pay packet – they want meaning from their work. To exert a pull on today’s talent, business success is no longer enough. You now need to focus on ethics and spotlight your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

Once a marginal business afterthought, CSR has long since moved out of the periphery and into the heart of the boardroom. In today’s saturated high-growth market, it’s the businesses that embrace CSR as part of their long-term strategy that are catching the attention of competitors and candidates alike. 32% of employees would seriously consider leaving their job if their company gave too little money to charity, and 50% of candidates said that a company’s CSR policies influenced whether or not they accepted a job offer. It’s time to step up and use your company CSR as a powerful recruitment tool.

Here’s our top three tips on harnessing the power of Corporate Social Responsibility to become a talent magnet:

1. Reinforce your core values:

Candidates aren’t easily fooled. They’ll be able to tell the difference between a sincere CSR policy and a half-hearted stab at being ethical. You need to revisit your company culture and implement CSR activities that are in full alignment.

For example, if you’re a company that claims to pride itself on boldness, candidates will be looking for exciting CSR work such as skydiving for charity or fund-raising off the back of a staff mountain climb. Similarly, if your company ethos prizes creativity, your CSR activity should reflect that with quirky charity challenges and fun awareness-raising competitions.

Let’s be frank, donating a pound to charity in a “wear your own clothes to work day” and writing that off as CSR is hardly going to wow today’s socially conscious candidates. Instead, you need to step up and show that your brand and company values are backed up with an aligned Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.

Candidates will see that your culture isn’t skin-deep, that your actions match up with your marketing efforts, and that a job within your company will help make a genuine social difference.

2. Exposure, exposure, exposure 

Today’s candidates expect transparency. When visiting your website, they want to find out everything they need to know about your business within a few clicks – including your ethics.

It goes without saying that CSR activities shouldn’t be conducted for the sake of positive PR. There’s a fine line between showcasing your activities and boasting about CSR work for business gains. Yes, share information and updates about your CSR, but don’t do it to the extent that it becomes put-on and preachy.

A great way to showcase your ethical activities is through a dedicated page within your website. A custom-built CSR page will show your dedication to adding value, and filling it with killer content about your activities will show the world that you’re a company who cares. Share your press releases, share your photos, share blogs about money raised, interview any charities you’ve worked with or employees who have got involved. Candidates won’t have to look far to learn everything they need to know about your ethics.

And of course, post live social media updates if and when you’re involved in a fun CSR activity to drive engagement and share your work with a mass audience. 

3. Engage your employees

Don’t underestimate the power of your current employees. More often than not, your current team are equally as powerful as your consumers in getting the word out about business practices. And there’s a growing body of research that shows that employees love to get involved in CSR efforts.

In fact, 53% of workers say that “a job where they can make an impact” is important to their happiness, and 72% of students about to enter the workforce agree. The majority of employees stated that they would even be willing to take a pay cut to achieve that goal.

Encourage your employees to get involved with CSR work. Not only do they want to make a social difference, they want to do something different in the workplace. Happy, engaged employees speak powerfully about your company and will tell others about it. They’ll share with their social network online, they’ll discuss with friends, and in a short space of time the buzz around your company will grow.

Candidates want to work somewhere where they can see that people are happy. Your workforce can be a hidden and underutilised gem in attracting top talent, engage them!

With CSR becoming an increasingly important factor in candidate attraction, you can’t afford to neglect it. Get alignment, get exposure and get engagement from your CSR activities and you’ll soon get exceptional recruits.

Author: Roxanne Abercrombie is a professional copywriter and serial blogger. She works as PR, Content and Social Executive for Uniting Ambition, a specialist company that provides recruitment and talent management services to businesses at varying stages of growth, from start-up and medium sized enterprises through to global brands.

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