Being Socially Responsive Can Help Employee Engagement

January 26, 2010 ( – A new Canadian study asserts that employers who follow socially and environmentally friendly practices get their money’s worth in increased employee engagement.

A Hewitt Associates news release about the Best Employers in Canada study it conducted with the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) says employees who are engaged with their employers think more highly of companies that are socially responsive.  

Eighty-six percent of employees at organizations with high worker engagement agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they worked for an employer that was socially and environmentally responsive. That compares to 71% at employers with moderate engagement and only 60% at those with low engagement.

According to the announcement, employers list the top three potential upsides of maintaining a socially responsive business philosophy as a positive organizational reputation, higher or sustained employee engagement, and eliminating waste/reducing their impact on the environment.

The most frequently implemented socially responsive initiatives for Canadian employers are:

  •  community investment – fundraising and sponsorships;
  •  waste reduction – recycling, reduced usage;
  •  business travel reduction – use of videoconferencing or teleconferencing; and
  •  responsible purchasing – equipment and supplies.

“Not only do the results establish the strong connection between (corporate social responsibility) CSR and employee engagement, we’ve learned that declining employee perceptions of CSR within an organization can be a significant threat to engagement for over a third of organizations,” says Barb Steele, Director of Membership, CBSR, in the news release. “Combined initiatives to sustain both employee engagement and support CSR transformation will likely yield a better return on investment than individual non-coordinated efforts.”

The study included input from more than 100,000 employers and 2,000 leaders at more than 230 workplaces.