Taryn Dunmars

As employees and customers demand more from the corporations in which they work and shop, these companies now have a bigger obligation to fulfill those requests.

While employees are looking for ethical workplace improvements, consumers would like to know how their favorite brands are helping the community and what values they stand for.      

Below we will explore how company ethical responsibility is affecting workers and customers, and how CSR programs can help you retain top talent.

woman manager talking to two women employees in a meeting room

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility

DEI in the workplace is becoming more than just a culture trend. Employees are looking to work for companies who place value in diversity and representation and understand why workplace strategies shouldn’t be a one-size-fit-all approach.   

A recent article by Financial Management speaks of the positive impact company DEI programs can bring to its workforce. The article stated that companies who were more diverse, both culturally and ethnically, “outperformed less diverse businesses by as much as 36%.”

As companies continue building upon their DEI strategies, by doing things like improving employee training, updating company practices and policies, and continuing to invest in company DEI programs, workers will have a peace of mind knowing they are working for a corporation committed to ethics. 

CSR is Important for Attracting and Retaining Employees 

Company ethics also play a huge role in attracting and retaining good employees. To this end, it’s no surprise that potential employees really look into a company’s background before accepting a position.

How does the corporation treat its employees?      

Is the corporation doing good in the community?

What programs are in place to ensure employees have their work needs met? 

In an article by Harvard Business Review that goes over key ways to attract and retain top talent in the workplace, the general consensus is that, following the Great Resignation, organizations must improve their employee value proposition (EVP) if they wish to get the best out of their employees.

two employees laughing and talking together at a meeting

The importance of a strong EVP should not be underestimated, as more times than not, it is a key deciding factor for potential and current employees.

How does your company attract and retain top talent?

The Effects of CSR on Workplace Culture 

Company ethics and workplace culture go hand and hand. There are numerous occurrences that can make or break a company’s work environment, such as harassment, discrimination, heavy workloads, or workplace toxicity.

A company’s workplace sets the foundation for workers, ultimately determining the success rate of the business. When a company doesn’t have a work environment that’s conducive to the wellbeing of its employees, business owners can expect to see some of the following effects:

  • Unmotivated employees 
  • High employee turnover 
  • No work-life balance  
  • Low employee morale  
list of different aspects of an unhealthy work environment

In an article by CNBC that discussed the top reasons employees quit their job, it was stated that “researchers found toxic work culture to be the biggest factor that led people to quit, and 10 times more important than pay in predicting turnover.” 

Once companies dedicate the time and resources to create a positive workspace for its employees, success will consequently follow. To get better insight on what impacts and contributes to a toxic workplace, download our Preventing Toxic Workplaces Report here

CSR and Retaining Customers 

woman typing in credit card information into a laptop

Do you want to know one of the most effective ways to retain customers and gain new ones? 

Stand for something, help improve the community, or be ethically responsible. Businesses that put time and effort into initiatives, and especially those of the ethical nature, are the businesses that come out on top.

Consumers no longer blindly advocate on a corporation’s behalf, but instead, take the time to look into a company’s background and peruse their “About Me” section with a little more tenacity.

Below, you’ll learn how certain companies’ initiatives helped or hindered their growth and ultimately, their consumer base.

Look for Initiatives Within the Community 

I’m sure you remember the sustainable shoe brand, TOMS, that nearly every Millennial was raving about when it hit the market in 2006.

Their former “One-for-One” model, in which for every pair of shoes that were purchased, TOMs donated a pair to a child in need. As you can imagine, once the word got out about this impactful initiative, consumers were more than willing to spend their dollars with this pay-it-forward, ethical brand.

grey TOMS canvas shoes

However, following a two-year slump and decline in shoe sales in 2019 due to consumers questioning whether or not TOMS’s business model from over ten years ago was worth it and if it was actually changing the lives of others (and also because the shoes could be rather expensive), the corporation pivoted to an even more ethically responsible business model.

​​In their 2021 Impact Report, the company gives insight on their new and evolved Giving Model, in which they support grassroots good (marginalized groups impacted by pertinent world issues) by investing ⅓ of their profits to their cause.

In the report, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, Amy Smith, said that 2022 is the year the company’simpact will focus even more on Mental Health and the resources we can share.” 

TOMS’s rapid growth and sudden decline shows just how much consumers can make or break a company, especially if they no longer share the same values as they once did.

Check How Companies Treat Their Employees 

Amazon is a company that many consumers know, love, and frequently shop at. If there is anything that a person could ever need, there’s a great chance it can be found on the online store. 

According to an article by Tech Jury, in 2021 alone, there were approximately 300 million people buying from the one-stop-shop website.

smartphone with amazon website on screen

However, the company has faced much negative backlash in the past due to some of their unethical practices. Since the global pandemic of 2020, countless stories have been amplified about the ill treatment of Amazon delivery drivers and warehouse workers.

In a recent article by Ethical Consumer, it gave an inside look on the less-than-satisfactory conditions that Amazon workers dealt with on a daily basis. As a result of this, more unions and workforce organizations have been formed and several strikes have been taking place in an effort to change the way the company treats its workers. 

As you can imagine, the unethical practices of Amazon have not gone unnoticed by consumers, and many of which have boycotted the brand altogether and are opting to shop locally and support smaller businesses.

Ethical Consumer has since provided consumers with ethical alternatives to Amazon in order to show support to Amazon’s warehouse workers and delivery drivers.

Although Amazon has continued to grow following its unethical practices, their reputation has been damaged in the eyes of many consumers, who have chosen to spend their money elsewhere. 

Company ethical responsibility will continue to be at the forefront of many companies’ business strategies. As more employees and consumers push for better work conditions and improved community initiatives, we can expect to see more corporations following suit.

To learn how your company can develop more effective workplace ethics training, click here.