To CSR or not to CSR? Is this really a question?

In September 1970, Milton Freidman, an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, wrote an article called “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profit”. 

In his article, he describes the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as hypocritical and deceptive, stating also that business people that adopt this approach are most likely to have suicidal business tendencies.
Fifty years ago, such views reflected the skepticism of the public at large.

 

Since then, times and trends have changed. Today, almost 100% of the Fortune 500 companies present detailed, compliant reports about their social-responsibility programs. Moreover, more than 50% of students who finish university studies state that they look for jobs in which they can contribute to the community and/or the environment.

Is social responsibility the responsibility of the organization? Or is it the responsibility of the employees in the organization? Or perhaps it is both?

What is CSR?

Generally speaking, CSR is a moral commitment by an organization and its employees to do good. More specifically, CSR means strengthening ties between the organization and the community, the environment and the market segment where it operates. 

Internally, it has to do with the connection to its employees – the conditions of employment, professional advancement, mobility, and the like.
In other words, CSR maximizes the business objectives of a company while upholding values like fairness and transparency and preventing actions that damage the environment or harm the community. 

CSR activities concentrate on four dimensions: the workplace, the community, the marketplace and the environment. All dimensions are intertwined, and each exercises a ripple effect on both internal and external organizational processes.

As a company that specializing in employer branding projects in a variety of industries in Israel and globally, we at Xtra mile study the organization and detect the gaps between its values and how its employees perceive those values. 

The analysis is inwards, a survey of existing employees, the most important target audience. This assessment of companies from the inside out does not leave any room for doubt – it is impossible to gain the commitment of employees or engage them without an in-depth study of CSR. 

The Y generation, and perhaps more significantly, the Z generation, want a 360-degree employment experience that meets strong social-responsibility commitments. Organizations that lack this baseline will have to face cynical employees and will fail to establish its principles and values effectively.

More and more businesses are beginning to pay more attention to the design, establishment and execution of CSR programs. 

This is simply because their customers (their existing and potential employees), government institutions and vendors are beginning to notice what they do in their environment, not only their business results or service levels. 

It’s time to begin thinking about CSR in your organizational philosophy. 

It will certainly promote not only your employer branding, but also your position among existing and potential customers.

Bottom line: there’s no real question here…

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