Hands holding a chain of brown paper men against a green nature-style background, symbolising CSR initiatives.
Image: © patpitchaya/Stock.adobe.com

How CSR initiatives can make employers more attractive

30 May 2023

It’s been well documented that CSR initiatives can attract and retain talent. We heard from two tech companies that have seen it in action.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals have become increasingly important, with more employees choosing to work for companies they believe in.

Employees want to work for organisations where the values align with their own, and this can be clear through internal company culture but also through the work the company does externally.

“When a company embraces CSR, not only does it cultivate a positive impact on society and the environment, but it also creates a workplace where employees are empowered, engaged and proud to be part of something greater than themselves,” said Marina Rivas, brand and marketing manager at Great Place to Work.

“CSR is the bridge that connects individual purpose with collective impact, fostering a culture of empathy, purpose-driven work and unparalleled employee satisfaction. It is also a powerful tool for client and talent acquisition and retention, and a way to differentiate the company from its competitors.”

To find out a little more about what a strong CSR policy looks like, we found out more from Tekenable and Teamwork, two entrants on the 2023 Best Workplaces in Tech list.

‘Many people ask about [CSR] at the interview stage’

Jenny Bowker, marketing director at Tekenable, talked about several initiatives the company runs to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, equity and social responsibility. These include pro-bono mentoring and assistance for start-ups in Ireland, internal fundraisers for Crumlin Children’s Hospital, a Technology for Good programme and a partnership with Cloud Forests.

“The CSR initiatives at Tekenable combine employee and programme-led initiatives. Based on input from our staff and annual audits from Ecovadis and Great Place to Work, we rank CSR initiatives in order of importance,” said Bowers.

“The Ecovadis programme identifies our areas of success and our weaknesses before providing us with a plan of action for the year after. In order to make sure we are making progress and checking in frequently, we divide these tasks among the teams.”

CSR is also a key part of Teamwork’s values. “We offer student mentorship, run STEM initiatives in schools and sponsor local sports teams,” said Noelle Mulcahy, a wellbeing and experience specialist.

“From an environmental perspective, we have signed up to Science Based Targets and our offices on the island of Ireland are now using 100pc renewable energy.”

Employee involvement

In order to get the most out of CSR initiatives, it’s always important to involve employees. Bowker said Tekenable does this by asking for its workers’ opinions, prioritising their concerns and including them in meetings.

“Specifically, to make sure that we are offering the kinds of activities that our employees enjoy and benefit from, our sports and social committee holds regular meetings and solicits feedback from the workforce,” she said.

“Our CSR committee is an action team that makes sure the improvements allocated throughout the year are implemented and moving forward.”

Similarly, Mulcahy said Teamwork’s people are the main decision-makers of its initiatives. “They are the ones who decide on the causes that we donate to,” she said.

“Our people are at the heart of environmental decisions. For instance, the office was asked about the impact of getting rid of plastic bottles and to vote on any actions.”

Talent retention

Having strong CSR initiatives is a vital factor in attracting and retaining talent, especially in a candidate’s market.

Bowker said Tekenable’s own CSR initiatives have assisted the company in attracting employees to work for it.

“Our commitment to fostering a positive work environment and implementing sustainable business practices is evidenced by our Great Place to Work certification and Ecovadis assessment ratings,” she said.

“Giving employees worthwhile opportunities for development and engagement, like volunteer work and fundraising activities, can raise employee morale, engagement and job satisfaction, which will ultimately result in higher retention rates.”

Similarly, Mulcahy said CSR is quickly becoming a key attraction piece for talent. “Many people ask about it at the interview stage. Our people feel proud to be able to say that Teamwork gives back,” she said.

“A lot of our initiatives in Teamwork are employee-led and we find this gives our people a connection to how Teamwork makes the world a better place.”

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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