CSR – 3 ways you can enhance your organisation’s culture

Many of today’s employees want more than just a job. They want to work for an organisation who shares their values, has a mission they believe in and is willing to give something back to society. In response, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gone from being a nice-to-have to a key part of many companies’ marketing and recruitment strategies. When fully embraced, CSR is about cultural and behavioural change within your organisation and the way that it operates. It can have a positive impact on every aspect of your business.

image of people looking happy in office with good culture

image of people looking happy in the office with good culture because of CSR

How can CSR help my organisation?

There are many ways in which your organisation can benefit from a cohesive, forward-thinking corporate social responsibility strategy:

Enhancing your brand

CSR gives you the ability to differentiate your brand and take part in conversations wider than the products and solutions your organisation offers. People feel good about, and want to buy services from, companies that are giving back to the community. By adopting a strong CSR program, you will have an engaging story to tell and the opportunity to increase brand awareness and reputation.

Engaging your customers

The initiatives that you take part in also allow you to connect with your audience in new and varied ways. Helping you to shape the purpose and values of your brand, deepening connections with customers and enhancing your communications. It’s about making your business stand for something bigger than the products and solutions you sell. Giving you the ability to lead forward-thinking discussions with both your internal and external customers.

Attracting and retaining talent

The best people want to work for the best companies and an important part of that is your CSR strategy. Millennials particularly resonate with these messages and actively seek to be employed at companies that are giving back. You will attract employees who are already aligned in their thinking about ‘doing the right thing’ both within and outside of the workplace.

Being human

People want to help people, it’s a fundamental human instinct. Taking a more human approach to your corporate strategy can make your business more approachable, increase employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Ricoh’s CSR activity

There are loads of great organisations and causes out there to support. In fact, there are so many that it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve partnered with countless organisations over the years. Right now, we’re running three great CSR initiatives that may be worth exploring if you’re looking for ideas.

We’ve worked with the Prince’s Trust since 2013, particularly on youth employment and working with NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Ricoh employees provide direct ‘Employability skills’ coaching and support to groups (typically 15 to 20 in each cohort). The participants engage in the Trust’s 12-week ‘Team’ training programme on-site at Ricoh and we operate three cycles per year.

For more than 20 years we’ve worked with Business in the Community, the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. Ricoh are members of their Ban the Box initiative which provides fair access to employment for ex-offenders.

We recognise the value that serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to our organisation and have formalised our support and commitment by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

How do you measure success?

The real benefits of corporate social responsibility can be difficult to measure and quantify, but it’s important to understand the value that CSR can add and how to communicate this internally. This will help when you’re getting stakeholders and participants onboard and outline where you should focus going forward, allowing you to align your CSR strategy with your overall business goals.

Every organisation will have different CSR goals and objectives, but here are a few things you can measure to gauge the success of your initiatives.

Employee engagement with initiatives

Understanding the impact that your CSR strategy has on your people is key and employee engagement is an important indicator of success.

Measuring the signup numbers for initiatives will help you get a feel for how much they’re being embraced and what kinds of initiatives get the best response. You can also ask employees who were involved with what they thought. And ask those who didn’t sign up why they decided not to.

Brand recognition and marketing value

CSR can support your online and offline marketing activity, giving you another story to tell and another way to engage your audience. You can measure this by tracking engagement on social media, any PR coverage you manage to secure and traffic to webpages or blog posts involved with CSR.

The success of the initiatives you’re involved in

It’s important to understand the goals of the organisations you’re working with and how they measure success. A good way to manage this is to set up regular reviews to look at what you’ve done together, what the results were and make plans for the future. You can then take these results back to the business to demonstrate the impact of your efforts.

If you‘d like to learn more about corporate social responsibility at Ricoh UK or how to get involved in the initiatives mentioned, feel free to drop me a line on LinkedIn.

Your people are just one aspect of modern and responsible business. Download our Optimal Office guide to find out what else you need to consider

James Deacon

Head of Corporate Responsibility

Read all articles by James Deacon