As a Small Business Owner, would you like to improve your employee relationships?
Embracing Social Responsibility (i.e. doing more Social Good through your business) can help in five ways:
- Meet Employee Expectations
- Increase Employee Engagement
- Increase Employee Happiness
- Increase Employee Wellness
- Improve Employee Skills
Read on to learn more…
Top 5 Ways Social Responsibility Efforts Can Improve Your Employee Relationships
1. Meet Employee Expectations
Countless studies in the last few years have confirmed that employees are expecting much more of their employers. They EXPECT employers to not only have a successful business, but they also expect their employer to contribute to a greater good.
- 86% of employees believe it is “important” that their own employer is responsible to society and the environment, with over half of workers (55%) believe that it is “very important” (Project ROI).
- 77% of newly hired employees and 76% of existing employers expect that companies are more purpose-driven (a higher percentage than any other stakeholders, including customers at 68%) (Covestro)
- 86% of business executives believe that top talent is significantly more inclined to work for companies with social responsibility efforts (commitment to social, environmental, and sustainability issues) (Covestro).
- 86% of employers have reported that their employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community (America Charities).
Over time, the expectation of an employer to be more socially responsible will increase as the workforce transitions to more Millennial and Generation Z employees (who place more importance on Social Responsibility that Gen X and Boomers). These employee expectations are important to consider when recruiting new employees (discussed more in a later part of this blog series) and retaining existing employees.
2. Increase Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the emotional connection that an employee feels towards their employer. Similar to consumer engagement, it is how your employees FEEL about your business. A study by Gallup found that only 33% of Americans consider themselves engaged at work; or in other words, only 1 in 3 of your employees really care about your company.
Specific efforts related to your Social Responsibility efforts that will increase your employee engagement include:
- Communicating your business purpose with your employees (particularly how it connects to the community) – 72% of Gen Z and Millennials, 59% of Gen X, and 58% of Boomers find purpose at work when they see how the company benefits the community (MetLife Study). When an employee finds purpose at work, they are significantly more engaged.
- Involving employees in Social Responsibility actions (such as modifying the office for environmental efforts or volunteering in the community) – 68% of executives believe that employees would be more engaged AND productive at work if given the opportunity to take part in purpose-driven projects (Covestro I3 Index).
- Offering volunteer opportunities to employees – There is a 19% increase in the employees who feel loyal to their company when they participate in company volunteer activities (Deloitte).
When a company embraces Social Responsibility, the overall employee engagement increases by 7.5% (Project ROI), meaning employees are more connected to the business.
When you have highly engaged employees, you are also helping your business by (Gallup Report):
- Reducing absenteeism (by 41%)
- Reducing employee turnover (by 24%)
- Reducing safety incidents (by 70%)
- Increasing productivity (by 17%)
- Increasing sales (by 20%)
- Increasing profitability (by 21%)
3. Increase Employee Happiness
We have ALL worked with unhappy colleagues and many of us have had an unhappy employee. It is emotionally exhausting. Not only is an unhappy employee less productive, but he/she can also negatively affect the productivity of other employees. The longer the person is unhappy, the further the impacts tend to spread.
As a reminder, one of the four categories of Small Business Social Responsibility efforts is Safety, Health, and Wellness. These are actions that improve the safety of your work environment and the overall mental and physical well-being of your employees and customers.
Many of the actions in this category also contribute to a happier employee, including, but not limited to:
- Installing art in the workplace.
- Encouraging employees to personalize their workspace.
- Offering wellness benefits.
- Offering flexible work schedules.
- Offering work from home opportunities.
Happier employees will benefit your business by:
- Increasing productivity – When employees are happy, 39% will work harder and increase their productivity (One4All study).
- Decreasing absenteeism – happier people are generally healthier people (Harvard study).
4. Increase Employee Wellness
Similar to employee happiness, many of the potential actions in the Safety, Health, and Wellness category focus directly on improving the mental and physical well-being of your employees. They are great options to show that you care about your employees and their families.
Improving your employee wellness will benefit your business by:
- Increasing employee engagement – 88% of employees who consider themselves to have high wellbeing also consider themselves to be engaged at work (as opposed to only 50% of employees with low wellbeing) (Limeade/Quantum Workplace).
- Increasing employee productivity – 66% of employers offering wellness programs reported increased productivity (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans).
- Decreasing absenteeism and health costs (American Journal of Health Promotion).
5. Improve Employee Skills
Finally, a less common and unexpected opportunity to improve your employee relationships is to offer options for employees to improve their skills through volunteer activities. A study by Deloitte confirms that employees can broaden overall professional skill sets and improve leadership skills through volunteering. Consider your employees and any skills they may lack and find opportunities for volunteering that may help strengthen those skills. It’s a double-win – great for your employees AND giving back to the community.
How Else Can Social Responsibility Benefit Your Business?
To do more than improve your employee relationships, refer to the other blogs in this series to learn about additional benefits including:
- Improve your customer relationships (Part 2).
- Improve your brand awareness (coming soon).
- Improve your business finances (coming soon).
- Project ROI (Defining the Competitive and Financial Advantages of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability)
- Covestro (i3 Index Survey Findings and Results)
- America Charities (Snapshot 2017: What US Employees Think about Workplace Giving, Volunteering, and CSR)
- MetLife (Thriving in the New Work-Life World – 17th Annual US Employee Benefit Trends Study 2019)
- One4All (2018 Happiness Survey)
- Limeade/Quantum Workplace (2016 Wellbeing & Engagement Report)
- Harvard (Happiness & Health)
- Gallup (2017 State of the American Workplace)
- American Journal of Health Promotion (Financial Impact of Health Promotion Programs)
- International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (Workplace Wellness Trends, 2017)
- Deloitte (2016 Deloitte Impact Survey – Building Leadership Skills through Volunteerism)
- Deloitte (2011 Deloitte Volunteer Impact Survey)