Businesses exist to profit, but they also exist to serve a purpose: to create or provide products and services that have a positive impact on their customers’ lives, to provide employees with a healthy and enriching workplace; and to preserve the integrity of the business for the future. When looking at a company’s purpose, it is important to include corporate social responsibility (CSR). As a self-regulating model, CSR allows companies to conduct business in a way that is ethical and meaningful to itself, its stakeholders and the public. This means taking account of societal impacts — social, economic and environmental.
The business benefits of a robust corporate social responsibility program can be many, some of which include:
1. Improved Public Image. Companies that demonstrate their commitment to various causes are perceived as more philanthropic than companies whose corporate social responsibility endeavors are nonexistent. As consumers assess public images when deciding whether to buy from you, seeing something simple like staff members volunteering an hour a week at a charity demonstrates that you are a brand committed to helping others. As a result, you’ll appear much more favorable to consumers.
2. Increased Brand Awareness & Recognition. If your business is committed to ethical practices, this news will spread. More people will hear about your organization, which creates an increase in brand awareness. Additionally, through volunteering with various organizations, you widen your network and the company network. New people will come to recognize your organization and what it represents. These new audience members could eventually become clients, investors and more.
3. Greater Employee Engagement & Retention. It is proven that employees enjoy working for a company that commits to corporate social responsibility and has a good public image. By showing that the business is committed to things like human rights or environmental issues, you are more likely to attract talent and retain top employees. Employees will find your workplace to be a more positive and productive place to work and by promoting things like volunteering, you encourage personal and professional growth.
At CNA, we agree that a business is only as good as its purpose, its people and its impact. We also believe that as a business, we have the responsibility to be a good corporate citizen, neighbor and employer. Through our CSR programming, we have been able to build an inclusive employee experience while also positively impacting the communities in which we operate.
CNA VOLUNTEER-A-THON during the month of October is one great example. CNA colleagues, across the globe, are encouraged to get up, get out and give back to their local communities. This year, nearly 800 CNA employees took part in volunteer events. Together, we spent more than 3,000 hours impacting our neighbors by volunteering with various non-profit organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Bernie’s Book Bank and Feed My Starving Children.
As we reflect on what we were able to accomplish together in 2019, it is a powerful reminder of the good that organizations can do through corporate social responsibility. Personally, I am proud to be a part of a company that empowers its employees with opportunities year-round to build community and give back to those around us.