Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about the many reasons that employees are leaving their jobs. And those reasons vary — pay, benefits, flexible work, pandemic safety, etc. It only makes sense that employees will look for their next employer to do better in these areas.
“People have not spent the past year or longer of their lives sheltering, masking, worrying, caregiving, etc. to go work for a company that doesn’t align with their values.”
But one area that I’m just starting to hear more about is job seekers wanting to work for organizations that have better alignment with their social views. In a study from Markstein and Certus Insights, 70% of consumers want to know what the brands they support are doing to address social and environmental issues. If consumers are paying attention to the brands they support, then it only seems logical that job seekers are too. A recent survey from Gartner seems to support this idea. They cited that 75% of employees expect their employer to take a stance on current societal or cultural issues, even if they have nothing to do with them directly.
While social views might not have been the number one reason that an employee has left or is considering leaving the organization, it could be one of the things that attracts someone to a new employer.
I believe this gets to the heart of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, which is a part of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Body of Knowledge. CSR reflects the organization’s role in achieving economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental protection. A strong CSR strategy will benefit the business and the organization’s brand — both at a consumer level and a job seeker level.
HR professionals will want to help the organization develop their CSR strategies, communicate transparently about business decisions, and act as a role model in the community. HR professionals need to have opinions about social and environmental issues. I’m not saying you have to write about them on your Facebook page but having a point-of-view and being able to articulate it when necessary is essential.
I also want to be careful here and draw the distinction between CSR and politics. I’m not so naive to think that politics and CSR never intersect, particularly in employee social views. But I do believe there are times when it is possible to take a stand and not make it political. Organizations are going to have to spend some dedicated time thinking about their positions and more importantly, how they plan to articulate their position. It could also be advantageous to communicate the company’s position on social and environmental issues proactively versus reactively.
Whether you call it the great resignation or the turnover tsunami, candidates are going to want to know the social views of the organizations they’re applying to. People have not spent the past year or longer of their lives sheltering, masking, worrying, caregiving, etc. to go work for a company that doesn’t align with their values.
In fact, as I’m typing this, it does make me wonder if job seekers and employees have flipped the company values conversation. Maybe recruitment isn’t about companies finding candidates who support corporate values. Maybe recruitment is about candidates finding companies that align with their personal values. Some people might think this is exactly the same — but I don’t know that it is. I think it totally changes what employment branding looks like.