Corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts appeal to a growing number of people. The impact of these efforts can be seen in everything from consumers buying products associated with a cause they care about to using their online networks to amplify social and environmental messages. Consequently, CSR’s increasing appeal should not be lost on employers, especially those working to build a pipeline of potential senior executives, as CSR can be an effective recruiting tool.


Consider, for instance, a recent Cone Communications study on corporate social responsibility, which found that 78 percent of the respondents want companies to address important social justice issues. Interestingly, 87 percent of the respondents indicated they will purchase a product because a company advocates for an issue they care about and 76 percent indicated they will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services after learning it supports an issue contrary to their beliefs.


As organizations work to find their next generation of executives, it’s clear they should target Millennials. Companies with a strong culture in CSR can increase their chances of attracting this group of potential employees because Millennials generally are considered to be more civic-minded and have a stronger sense of community, both local and global, than other generations.


A Cone Communications study last year found that 64 percent of Millennials indicated they strongly consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. The same number indicated they won’t even take a job if a company doesn’t have a strong CSR program, while 83 percent said they would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. What’s more, 88 percent of the Millennials said their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issue.


The challenge then becomes for companies to identify ways to set themselves apart from competitors in the eyes of Millennials by making sure their CSR programs are not only strong, but communication about CSR reaches Millennials. One of the best ways is to reach Millennials online, but without hiding news about CSR efforts under multiple drop-downs, Peggy Anderson, VP of global talent acquisition at Blackbaud (via HR Dive), says in an Environmental Leader article. News about CSR efforts should also be broadcast via other outlets online: social media, bylined articles and press releases, she says.


“Featuring CSR programs prominently on your website and career site allow interested job seekers and curious consumers to see what you’re about right away, perhaps even before you’ve had a chance to talk to them or discuss publicly,” Anderson says.


She suggests that companies not only document their impact—including examples, highlights and results—but that they include this information in recruiting materials and media outreach. These efforts should also emphasize the “local angle,” rather than just having a global view of CSR, as Millennials like opportunities to support local communities, Anderson continues.


Finally, it’s important for companies to emphasize the connection between “profit and purpose.” CSR programs can’t exist in a vacuum and companies are increasingly making commitments to show the links between CSR programs and positive business outcomes, either those that add directly to the bottom line or via building a reputation as a “good corporate citizen,” Anderson says. These efforts can then be used to attract Millennial talent as well as talent from other generations.


What are your thoughts on promoting CSR efforts, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also as a means of attracting talent? Secondly, is your company actively broadcasting news about its CSR efforts?