Corporations and their leaders used to be able to put their heads down and hide, but today, consumers, and not just millennials, are demanding that corporations take a stand. Shopping and living values has become a priority, and the expectation extends to business, as well.
A talent shortage is driving companies to bake in CSR to their business model to support workforce recruitment and retention, as well as the bottom line. Often companies have purpose-driven practices in place, but these efforts have been mostly internal. Now and in the future, our profession needs to help companies bring these efforts into the open, making them public-facing.
Authenticity is key. Consumers and media care about whether the stories are real. Has the company involved the community and other stakeholders in the formulation of purpose and CSR efforts?
Talent recruitment is difficult for everyone right now. Having these authentic stories about purpose and community engagement can help our client companies and our agencies. Over the past handful of years, we have seen an increase in candidates coming in the door wanting to make a difference and be involved in pro-social projects.
Company culture is serious business and engaged employees are productive employees and great brand advocates. It requires the intention to keep employees engaged and happy throughout their careers. We have practices like Ask Any Question, where leaders in the agency have to stand up and answer any question asked. That level of transparency really helps to keep employees engaged in the agency from top to bottom and feeling like they have a say in things.
Walking the Walk
There are times where we have had to turn down clients. Sometimes it’s easy to make these decisions, sometimes it’s less clear. Employees can have a voice in this and can be valuable in keeping us honest. We have had to turn down potential clients not because of what they do, but more so what they don’t do, like in their own hiring practices. Grey areas exist and learning from the discussions, and being real about where and how these decisions are made helps us reinforce our culture to employees.
This blog is part of “Agencies of the Future,” the PR Council’s initiative to help Members future-proof and grow their agencies. It was also recorded as an episode on the Agencies in the Future podcast. Listen to it here.