CSR + Sustainability = Behavior Change That Works

New benefits about corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are being discovered constantly, and new data suggests that employee morale is 55% higher in companies that have strong CSR programs than those with poor programs (Source: Society for Human Resource Management).

As the name implies, the Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference (BECC) brings together leading environmental, climate and behavioral experts to discuss the latest industry trends and developments. Our Founder and CEO, Susan Hunt Stevens, discussed how today’s organizations are utilizing the latest in social technologies for sustainability and CSR employee engagement.

Today’s Socially Empowered Engagement

Susan spoke firsthand about how to encourage positive behavior change through targeted content, and social and game mechanics. Coupled with mobile technology, today’s businesses and their workforce can benefit from the combined positive impact of sustainability and CSR employee engagement programs (see our case study on Sony Electronics).

At the heart of this success is behavioral science, which is why we are thrilled to be in attendance and speaking at BECC this week.

The Data Behind the Combined Benefits of Diversity

Our findings indicate that engagement rates are 10 percentage points higher in programs that include both CSR and sustainability. The logic behind this is somewhat intuitive: programs that offer both sustainability and CSR projects attract a more diverse employee base. While there are some employees who care deeply about the environment and sustainability, there are likely a significant portion of the workforce that cares more about social programs like volunteering and well-being.

A platform that has both social and environmental projects is therefore able to draw in a larger crowd, resulting in higher employee engagement in your corporate program and mission.

Average 30-Day Engagement

But what if you still only care about the environmental impacts? You could hypothesize that CSR employee engagement projects, like volunteering and giving, could serve as a distraction, and potentially take away from your environmental goals. Knowing this could be a concern, we dug into the data and found the exact opposite. Users on platforms with visibility into both sustainability and CSR employee engagement projects completed an average of 1.7 more actions in environmentally-focused projects. 

These findings also complement other outside research. In particular, a 2013 study found that companies that take a holistic CSR approach that includes both environmental and social endeavors reap greater financial returns in the long run.

Making a Sustainable Impact Through Positive Behavior Change

So what are the key takeaways from our analysis? Programs that include sustainability and CSR have:
1.  Higher overall engagement: Engagement rates are 10 percentage points higher in programs that have both CSR and sustainability projects.
2. Higher engagement in sustainability: Users on platforms with both CSR and sustainability projects completed 1.7 more actions in environmentally-focused projects.

Sustainability and CSR behavior change at Sony ElectronicsDownload our Sony Electronics case study to learn more about positive behavior change and the benefits of CSR and sustainability programs with WeSpire’s employee engagement platform.