Survey: Corporate responsibility improves staff recruitment and customer relations

Corporate responsibility, with an emphasis on environmental action, is resonating amongst staff and consumers, offering better recruitment options for firms that embrace sustainability agendas, a new survey has found.

The UK’s largest trade association for electrical, electrotechnical and engineering contractors, the ECA, surveyed 147 of its near 3,000 business members on the benefits of corporate social responsibility in the sector.

The survey found that 51% of respondents feel that engagement with CSR helps to improve staff retention and recruitment, while 67% claimed that it improved client and customer relations.

ECA’s director of business Paul Reeve said: “These new findings highlight the key role of CSR in helping a business to retain and recruit staff, improve relationships with clients, and achieve process changes and cost savings.

“Increasingly, companies that are communicating effectively with their key stakeholders, and delivering social and environmental value, are seeing direct – in addition to indirect – business benefits.”

The survey, published in partnership with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, also found that 41% had benefitted from “positive media coverage” due to CSR commitments. Less than a third highlighted cost savings as a benefit, while 28% highlighted the ability to manage risk in the supply chain as a significant advantage of CSR.

Of the surveyed businesses that engage with CSR, 45% measure health and safety standards, compared to the 39% the use environmental impacts to assess success. In fact, the environment was listed at the top CSR concern by the members, with 66% highlighting it as the core driver for CSR.

Barriers and benefits

However, half of the respondents claimed that developing CSR initiatives was “too time consuming”, while 43% of respondents cited a lack of knowledge. Almost a quarter of those surveyed cited financial constraints as a barrier to implementation, and 32% named a lack of guidance as a current barrier.

Considerate Constructors Scheme’s chief executive Edward Hardy added: “It is very encouraging to see that over half of survey respondents are realising the benefits of CSR across their organisation. There is, however, much more to be done in achieving greater engagement throughout construction and its related industries. We must continue to work together to raise standards to ensure that every organisation is fully engaged with CSR.”

The survey arrived one week on from new research from EY, which found that the majority of businesses believe that having a well-integrated corporate purpose, rather than maximising shareholder value, holds the key to succeeding in the future.

The future offers up technological innovations that businesses can use to boost their CSR communications. Earlier this year, edie rounded up some of the latest techniques and platforms businesses are using to drive sustainability engagement among internal and external stakeholders.

Matt Mace

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