Responsible Business Attracts the Best People – and Keeping Them Improves the Bottom Line

Source: Business in the Community, 10 July 2003

Research published today (Thursday, July 10) amongst 1,000 employees across Britain shows that they see a clear connection between responsible business practice and positive impact on the bottom line. It found that responsible practice can help to attract, motivate and retain a talented and diverse workforce, that employees think such a workforce would be more creative and innovative, and that this would in turn improve competitiveness and profitability. However, only 45% of employees find the recruitment rhetoric about corporate values that helped attract them to their employer is actually implemented.
The research was sponsored by BUPA and carried out by Business in the Community in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) and the Future Work Institute. The report, "Responsibility: driving innovation, inspiring employees" was presented to an invited audience of senior business leaders on Wednesday, July 9 – the eve of Business in the Community’s annual conference, "A better way of doing business."

The key messages from the research were:

Employees are convinced that a talented and diverse workforce enhances creativity and innovation and contributes to increased focus on customers, improving competitive edge

They want to be treated as individuals – not categorised according to whatever ‘diversity’ group they fall into

They want to see the organisation’s values practised throughout the business – from corporate social responsibility through HR to products and services.

The report says that organisations seeking to translate responsible practice into improved bottom line results should make sure they put into practice the five key characteristics of a responsible employer identified by employees. These are:

Treating individuals fairly

Responding to the changing needs of individual employees over time

Providing good quality products or services

Listening to employees

Understanding the importance of values.

Many employees considered that a responsible organisation would be particularly good at having strong and inspiring senior management, but scored it low in their organisation. Leadership which is visible and connected to the organisation is crucial in influencing the extent to which it lives its values.

Val Gooding, Chief Executive, BUPA explains: "The marketplace is changing. If all other things are equal, we each have to ask what differentiates us as an organisation, both to our customers and to potential employees. This research shows the close connection between responsible organisations, engaged, motivated and inspired employees and business success."

The report goes on to show that attitudes to responsible business practice evolve as peoples’ careers develop. The financial package is the more important aspect in deciding on an employer, particularly for younger recruits, but once in employment, sharing the employer’s values becomes crucial to staying with the organisation.

Julia Cleverdon, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, says: "The research confirms how critical the integration of responsible practices is, offering business the opportunity to leverage success through the way it attracts, retains and motivates staff. In doing so, businesses can generate an innovative working environment, enhance employee motivation and increase their positive impact on all stakeholders."

Duncan Brown, Assistant Director-General, CIPD, concludes: "The challenge for HR departments is to make sure that the voice of employees is heard loud and clear throughout the business."

CSRwire Note: Announcement of the Business in the Community Award winners will be available on CSRwire 9am Friday 11 July 2003.

Notes for Editors
1. The research included substantial desk research to ensure it built on rather than re-invented previous research. A quantitative telephone survey was then conducted of 1,000 British workers aged 25-65 including those working at least part-time, but excluding those self-employed or working for an organisation with fewer than 20 staff. This was augmented by discussion groups with 40 first and second year undergraduates, and 15 MBA students.

2. Business in the Community is a unique movement in the UK of 700 member companies. Our purpose is to inspire, challenge, engage and support business in continually improving its positive impact on society.

Together, our member companies employ over 15.7 million people across 200 countries. In the UK, our members employ over 1 in 5 of the private sector workforce.

Membership of Business in the Community is a commitment to action and to the continual improvement of the company’s impact on society.

Our members commit to:
* Integrate responsible business practice throughout their business
* Impact through collaborative action to tackle disadvantage
* Inspire, innovate and lead by sharing learning and experience.

3. Further information about Business in the Community can be found at the website