CSR Comes to the Fore in a Downturn

The latest economic news won’t be easy reading for UK businesses but is there a way to increase staff motivation, make people feel valued, enhance business image and give something back to the community during this period of austerity? A growing trend developing across the Merseyside corporate sector suggests there is. 

An increasing number of North West businesses are looking to their Corporate Social Responsibility policies to see how they can do more for themselves whilst helping their local communities. More than ever, businesses have to be mindful of the bottom line and, here, CSR comes into its own. Research shows that effective engagement with locally-based, charitable organisations, when that engagement is aligned to business activities, can lead to stronger results for CSR focused companies. 

Charities are struggling just as much as the commercial sector at the moment due to the uncertain economic climate we are experiencing. However, there is a lot to be gained by working for each other and seeking mutually beneficial partnerships.

For example, a landscape gardening company might choose to support a local environmental charity through donations, involvement in projects or a series of fundraising; the company will experience more productive staff, improved standing in the community it serves, enhanced image and PR opportunities.  This is particularly beneficial to companies that are juggling tight budgets. In return they will be helping charities achieve their objectives.

The advantages of a strategic CSR approach are apparent when it comes to both larger organisations and SMEs. Liverpool-headquartered law firm, Hill Dickinson, has long embraced its Corporate Social Responsibility policy as a way of supporting charitable organisations. It has always viewed CSR as a way of boosting cross-practice employee co-operation and engendering a sense of involvement. In September, the firm will be participating in a fundraising walk, organised by Life Survival. The walk is intended to raise £10,000 for the Breckfield and North Everton Neighbourhood Council – an organisation that promotes social and racial inclusion amongst local youths, and offers support and advice to victims of crime.

Hill Dickinson Director of HR, Andrew Rushworth said, “Although we have grown to become an international firm we have never lost touch with our Liverpool roots stemming back over 200 years.  Our progressive CSR programme enables employees to participate in corporate citizenship activities. These activities come in many different forms from pro-bono work to fundraising events and all help to raise vital funds for local charities.”

Andrew continued, “It is inspiring, motivating and rewarding to see the end results of our community efforts.  The vast majority of our employees come from the local community and we are aware that our CSR work not only benefits staff but also their family and friends.”

Whether we are coming out of a recession or headed for a “Double Dip” now is the time to be looking at how an effective, well planned, mutually benefiting partnership can be developed to ensure staff well-being and company productivity. More importantly, we must continue to support those who need the vision, drive and expertise businesses pride themselves on.