5 Socially Conscious Initiatives to Help Your Business Attract Top Talent

by Tory Waldron - November 2, 2018

These days, employees elect to join companies with socially-conscious missions – making corporate social responsibility (CSR) essential for businesses of all sizes. And, with millennials and gen Z-ers becoming an increasingly large percentage of the workforce, it is more important than ever for companies to embrace social initiatives.

Why put so much impetus on the desires of the two youngest generations? Millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025 and gen Z, accounting for 61 million people in the U.S., will enter the workforce in the next few years. Change is afoot!

For businesses that want to stay competitive in the hiring market, it’s important to realize that these generations are not looking for the same employment perks that the boomers or gen X-ers were. Raised with technology – social media, texting, internet – millennials and gen Z-ers are more interconnected and socially active than any generation prior. From ice bucket challenges to local #metoo movement Facebook events, both generations are actively engaged in social issues across the world – and many aspire to join companies that possess their same values. In fact, a 2016 Cone Communications study revealed that 75% of millennials said they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.

Looking for tips on how to become a socially-conscious company? Here are five strategies to get started:

1) Go Green!

This week, two shocking reports emerged. The first report, by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), revealed that Earth will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius as early as 2030 – precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods, and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. What’s more, the 2018 Living Planet Report by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) also emerged, with proof that the world’s wildlife population has declined by over half in less than 50 years.

Shocking, and yet par for the course these days. With disastrous environmental reports circulating on a regular basis, it’s appealing for employees to be a part of a company that does its share in reducing (or eliminating) wasteful practices. Recycling, composting, ‘bike to work’ days, replacing plastic cafeteria utensils with re-usable metal, starting a garden, and implementing vegetarian or vegan food options are all great ways of reducing your company’s ecological footprint.

2) Purposeful Mission Statement

Most companies have a mission statement: something that defines the company’s purpose, function, advantages, goals, and philosophies. Many applicants will read a company’s mission statement as a way to learn about the company and what it represents. That’s why it’s the perfect place to align your company with its cause(s). Let applicants know that your organization is socially and environmentally responsible and dedicated to giving back. Maybe your organization supports the local community, or maybe it implements innovative environmentally “green” practices – no matter what it is, it’s important to be passionate, honest, and well-meaning. And be sure to back up your mission statement with proof, like case studies and white papers, to show that your company practices what it preaches.

3) Community Service

Volunteering increases self-confidence and provides a healthy boost to self-esteem and life satisfaction. Lately, many companies have been offering their employees major perks in exchange for participation. Some companies encourage their employees to volunteer by offering unlimited time-off or granting days of free PTO. Other companies organize community service initiatives and take their employees on ‘field trips’ during workdays to volunteer at local shelters or programs.

There is no right or wrong way to incentivize community service or volunteer work, but it’s important that employees know that their company supports it. And, employees will respect these initiatives even more if they know that upper management is participating as well. So, encourage your C-suite to join in!

4) Conduct a Salary Audit

Unequal pay is absolutely a hot-button issue these days. Take the gender pay gap, for example. In 2017, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent. And, with new Pay Transparency Laws, it’s more important than ever for your organization to implement salary transparency initiatives. Aside from the legality concerns, unequal pay can be bad for the company culture, and may even affect recruiting efforts if prospective employees find out about your company’s biased practices.

Therefore, it’s important to review your records and determine if your company is paying all genders and ethnicities fairly. An easy way to ensure that you are paying equitably is by adding your company’s data to Salary.com’s CompAnalyst, a powerful, data-fueled analytics platform that alerts users to any pay discrepancy in their organization.

5) Be Partner-Picky

Employees want to see that their company “walks the walk” when it comes to being socially conscious. Claiming to be an ethical company, but underpaying foreign employees is an easy way to turn off prospective employees. If your company has foreign locations, every employee should be paid equitably, with pay adjusted to reflect the labor costs of each global pay market.

And, when selecting partners and vendors, be sure to research their background. Even if partnering with a non-ethical company might garner short-term financial savings, the long-term consequences of “selling out” will outweigh any benefits.

Implementing socially-conscious initiatives can be a time-consuming part of your day. Why not make your life a bit easier by getting pay out of the way? Salary.com offers the broadest and most complete set of data coverage, pricing, and consulting resources available today to help your business develop balanced, equitable, and competitive total rewards programs. Book a demo today.

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