Business finds good corporate citizenship pays: expert
15/06/2011 - Businesses find that being a responsible corporate citizen pays dividends in terms of recruitment, public attitudes and cost management. Colin Brinsden
Business consultant Grant Thornton says privately-owned businesses now consider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as an essential tool to be competitive, while keeping staff on side.
"Staff retention has become imperative to businesses operating in an economic climate that is facing a potential skills shortage," says Grant Thornton Australia's director of privately held businesses Bill Shew.
Employers have come to understand that their staff expect good CSR initiatives, and this can be seen through the emergence of more family-friendly businesses that allow more flexibility in their staff's working lives, he said.
A Grant Thornton survey of 175 privately-held businesses found a net 52 per cent of owners believed CSR was a key motivation to retain staff.
While the net balance of those who thought staff retention was important, and of those who didn't, has fallen from 74 per cent in 2008, Shew expects this figure to significantly increase in the next couple of years as the economy emerges from the global financial crisis.
"Business owners are now switching their focus from survival mode to ensuring they have the high quality people needed to grow their business," Shew said releasing the survey findings on Monday.
Public perception of a responsible business was also seen by a net 51 per cent of respondents as very important.
"Many customers and suppliers are now demanding that those they do business with have a reputation as an ethical member of the community," he said.
Additionally, cost management was seen by a net 49 per cent as a key driver of CSR initiatives, as many businesses are realising that moving towards more ethical practices can help them control costs.
"Although we are now operating in a strengthened economy ... businesses still highly value the importance of cost control," Shew said.
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