Retain Top Employees Through CSR Programs

Managers should co-create CSR strategies with employees and encourage identification with the company.
Lauren Rakowski September 26, 2017
This study investigates how, when and why employees react to CSR initiatives. Few companies seem to understand how to leverage CSR to create employee engagement. Businesses should market their CSR programs internally to help acquire and retain top employees. To ensure success, managers should co-create CSR strategies with employees, inform employees about CSR initiatives, satisfy their needs, and encourage identification with the company.



Implications for Managers

1) Increase employee proximity to CSR.Inform employees consistently, concretely, and coherently about CSR initiatives, including program specifics, rationales and successes. 2) Model how CSR can benefit companies through employees. Examine CSR activities, how they fit within the company, and how they can fulfill employee needs. Metrics should be used to measure how CSR activities impact employees' company commitment, absenteeism, productivity and identification. 3) Understand and fulfill employee needs. Target specific CSR programs to meet the needs of employees segments with the greatest value. 4) Strengthen employee identification. Measure how employees identify with the company by informally monitoring how often they use the term "we" to describe the organization. 5) Involve employees in co-creating CSR value. Include employees as participants in the planning, design and implementation of CSR initiatives.

Implications for Managers

Future research can examine how to best identify segments of employee needs.


A two part study examined employee reactions to CSR. The first phase used in-depth interviews and employee focus groups with participants from major consumer-goods companies. This was followed by a global employee survey with over 10,000 respondents. The second phase used interviews followed by two online surveys with 481 respondents from companies in manufacturing, retail, and service.
Bhattacharya, C.B., Sen, S. & Korschun D. 2008. Using Corporate Social Responsibility to Win the War for Talent. MIT Sloan Management Review, 49, 2: 37-44. 

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