BOSTON – December 15, 2022 – Business leaders, investors and human resources teams are confronted with rapidly-evolving challenges entering 2023 as they strive to attract and retain top talent and meet the expectations of a socially-conscious workforce. WeSpire, the leading employee experience platform for ESG initiatives, has unveiled its top trends in ESG & CSR engagement for 2023, when companies of all sizes will continue to evolve their corporate social impact programs and identify the most effective methods to engage their workforce.
“As companies continue to strategize their CSR programs entering 2023, they’ll increasingly recognize the business value in migrating toward ESG – combining what they traditionally see as CSR with wellbeing, DE&I and other impact initiatives that improve business outcomes,” said Susan Hunt Stevens, Founder & CEO, WeSpire. “ESG & CSR are here to stay. Despite the threat of recession, budget cuts and hiring freezes for many industries and companies, social impact programs have held on to their budgets for the first time.”
Here are WeSpire’s eight trends in ESG & CSR engagement for 2023:
1. Focus on Retention
As the Great Resignation cools, and hiring freezes threaten, managers and HR leaders alike will continue to focus on retention. Re-engaging employees by connecting them to the company’s purpose and shared values while demonstrating a deeper commitment to their mental health and wellbeing will go a long way to increasing productivity, innovation and retention. In 2023, social impact programs tied to giving and volunteering will play a key role in engaging and motivating employees across the workforce.
2. Accountability & Delivering Action on Commitments
From the SDG 2030 goals to Net Zero objectives to DE&I metrics, companies need to demonstrate progress on the big commitments they have made. Consumers and potential employees alike are holding them accountable to those goals and calling them out on greenwashing and lip service when corporate commitments are not backed by plans and actions to reach them. Meeting major ESG milestones will require getting all employees engaged in corporate efforts to achieve these targets. Next year, leaders will put their money where their mouth is. Equity will take center stage as they review their policies on recruitment and development and deploy programs and initiatives such as personal grant accounts, which ensure a more equitable approach to employee giving.
3. The Rise of ERGs
Businesses are establishing more robust employee resource groups (ERGs) with formalized structures, governance, executive sponsors and budgets. In 2023, they will lean on ERGs even more for listening to employees and reviewing policies, community partnerships and driving innovation. Employers will also better see the link between cultivating a safe workplace that drives belonging and meeting business goals. A toxic work environment can dramatically impact performance, retention and business outcomes, and ERGs will play a key role in 2023 as companies prioritize psychological safety and drive inclusivity.
4. Remote work isn’t going away
We may be learning how to deal with COVID as an endemic disease, but the remote work experiment of the last three years has left its mark. Companies that are doing it well are very intentional about the hybrid work setup, including in-person days centered around team meetings, mentoring, and skills development, and facilitating connections among team members, such as workplace step challenges, virtual volunteering and tracking carbon footprints at work and at home. Evolving how we communicate and create opportunities for in-person and virtual engagement is critical to business success in 2023.
5. Mobilizing rapidly to provide immediate support
Employees increasingly expect companies to rapidly respond and provide opportunities for them to give their time and money to causes tied to natural disasters as well as geo-political, socio-economic, and human-caused events. Causes that call for support, aid and money are popping up with increased frequency and devastation, across the globe and in our own backyards. In 2023, more companies will recognize the need – and benefit – to have response infrastructure in place ahead of time so when the moments come, they can expeditiously communicate internally and externally, as well as get money where it’s needed as quickly as possible.
6. Increased focus on Scope 3 emissions
Executives and investors will get a better handle on their environmental impact and engage their employees to make continual, progressive reductions in emissions, both in the office and at home. Companies will pivot further from simply purchasing carbon offsets to improving the way they measure, balance and report on employee emissions to increase their impact and keep up with enhanced local and international standards for disclosures.
7. Triggers and nudges lead to changing behaviors
Basics of behavioral science - from nudges and notifications to gamification, social mechanics and triggers – are all around us and guide many daily decisions. In the workplace, today’s leading companies are poised to use behavioral science technology to increase engagement, motivating their employees toward actions tied to sustainability, DE&I, wellbeing and social impact. From there, the most effective leaders will leverage employee enthusiasm to inspire colleagues, offer rewards and implement recognition programs in 2023 to maximize ESG engagement.
8. Storytelling that moves hearts and relies on impacts rather than outputs
Moving beyond dollars and hours donated to outcomes achieved and community impacts will be critical in 2023. With increased ESG reporting that relies on hard data and is balanced with the real stories of lives changed, companies can tell their impact story better and trace the line from inputs and employee actions to real, positive social change.
WeSpire provides forward-thinking global companies with employee experience technology to empower their champions to design, run, and measure the impact of their purpose-driven employee engagement initiatives. On WeSpire, employees are inspired to participate in sustainability, social impact and giving, wellbeing and inclusive culture programs that improve business performance, ESG outcomes and drive a better working world. Interested? Request a demo below!
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