Member Perspective: Deanna Byrne

Guest Commentator: Deanna Byrne, Philadelphia Office Managing Partner, PwC

How can employers leverage corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a talent retention tool?

People at every level of business have one thing in common these days — they are expecting more from companies than they used to. The data on this is overwhelming. Sixty-four percent of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values.

That means companies that want to attract and retain top-tier talent need to be involved in the world, the country, and the communities around them. One yearly mandated volunteer day or donations from a corporate foundation are no longer enough. Responsible business leadership requires much more than that.

People want to see us offer help when Puerto Rico is decimated by a hurricane or other global crises are in the headlines.

They want us to take courageous stances and have difficult conversations on social issues like race, gun control, and the #MeToo movement.

And they want us to step in when they personally or parts of our community are truly in need.

These kinds of corporate actions add meaning to the work we do and that matters to people. Young employees say they are 5.3 times more likely to stay in a job when they have a strong connection to their employer.

We also build those strong connections when we recognize that people are looking for purpose in what they do every day. Eighty-three percent of employees say finding meaning in their day-to-day work is a top-three priority in their job and our CSR conversation should expand to recognize that.

To help people do work they find meaningful, organization leaders need to have conversations with their employees and ask what matters to them. At PwC, if someone cares about the environment, for instance, we’ll try to link them with a project that focuses on sustainability. If they’re looking to have an impact through volunteer work in their personal life, our flexibility policies allow them to shift their schedule to make that happen.

We offer paid time so people can volunteer for causes that matter to them and have a platform to spotlight the charities and organizations they are passionate about — helping them build awareness and receive funding from the firm and co-workers.

We also work very hard in our individual markets to make a difference in our communities. Here in Philadelphia, that means focusing on our schools, where many students aren’t getting the education they need. As a mother of four, I know that’s critically important. So we help equip young people from disadvantaged communities with the financial, technology, and career-selection skills they need to change the trajectory of their lives through an initiative called Access Your Potential.

At its core, CSR is really about connecting with your people so you know what matters to them and then making that a part not just of your corporate philosophy, but of your day-to-day business.

When you do that, top talent not only comes to you…they will be proud to work for you and they will stay.

PwC is a member of the Chamber’s Education & Talent Action Team (ETAT), a group of 100+ Chamber members focused on creating clear pathways for the alignment between individuals and employers, while also ensuring that we are training and engaging the region’s future leaders. ETAT’s steering committee is co-chaired by Deanna Byrne, Philadelphia Office Managing Partner, PwC and Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, CFA, President, Citizens Bank PA/NJ/DE/NY.

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