Take Corporate Citizenship to the Next Level with Coalitions

By Brad Whatley | December 17, 2018

Interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown substantially in recent years. What used to be just a recommended business practice is now a mandate for organizations across all industries. Employers clearly see the business benefits of CSR, working to maximize their environmental and social impact within an enterprise framework. Companies that demonstrate their commitment to local communities continue to see increased profitability, as well as enhanced employee recruitment and engagement. As a result, corporate citizenship has become much more than a strategic public relations exercise. Insurers form internal committees and hold strategic discussions to improve their involvement in the public sphere.

Now, companies are taking their social commitments to the next level by partnering and forming coalitions with like-minded organizations for various social causes. CSR coalitions have grown in number and diversity as organizations and stakeholders already aware of the business case for corporate citizenship have started to look for additional outlets. By forming coalitions, member organizations find opportunities for their senior management teams and leading professionals to build personal networks and gain the confidence of key industry leaders. Active participants bring insurers closer to their key markets, attracting more investors and business partners, and generating additional business opportunities.

Devoted engagement in CSR coalitions also yields better results in employee recruitment. By now it’s no secret a robust corporate citizenship program makes a company more attractive to potential employees. According to Cone Communications, 58 percent of people consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. Actively participating in CSR coalitions on top of existing internal efforts ensures candidates are more aware of their potential employers’ devotion and contribution to social causes.

Enterprise commitment to CSR coalitions can be a decisive influencer on employee retention. The survey found 74 percent of employees feel their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues. Much of the corporate world, including insurance, already has its own internal corporate citizenship committees and initiatives. While these may satisfy the current employee demand for employer social commitment, CSR coalitions are an opportunity for forward-thinking insurance organizations to set themselves apart and lead the industry as an employer-of-choice.

Coalitions also provide participating organizations substantial employee training opportunities. Employers can intentionally choose their own representatives for CSR coalitions. By doing so, representatives can improve their leadership capabilities and network base. It also provides a chance for successors to introduce themselves to other industry leaders and start building a foundation for future external business partnerships. There is no good reason not to engage in CSR coalitions.

Insurers not yet active in CSR coalitions should consider whether they can continue to afford missing out on the extensive benefits. There is a limit to what individual companies can do on their own to increase the engagement and outreach of their efforts. Joining relatable coalitions, or even founding one, can help member insurers stand as model employers that identify and disseminate good practices.

Organizations looking to involve themselves with these humanitarian partnerships should start off by identifying appropriate leaders within their ranks to represent the business and lead the agenda. Ideal representatives are talented social entrepreneurs who understand the necessity of corporate citizenship and are prepared to devote time and resources to engage with other organizations. It is advisable to select energetic, passionate executives who are not afraid to be exposed to media and possess the ability to broker between businesses and stakeholders.

The appointed executives should hold discussions with internal leaders and actively reach out to other like-minded organizations or existing coalitions. The involved parties can hold regular meetings to align their interests and plan the right initiatives. Inviting local governments and institutions to join the meetings can also help organizations identify relevant social issues and learn valuable first-hand knowledge. The meetings may also be utilized to exchange progressive ideas about how to encourage more responsible businesses to take public advocacy positions.

Now companies are taking their social commitments to the next level by partnering and forming coalitions with like-minded organizations for various social causes.

Successful CSR coalitions open their memberships to professionals of all levels. Participating organizations should invite employees to participate regardless of their levels or positions. A coalition benefits most from fostering an environment where multiple generations take part in testing solutions and sharing actionable insights under a unified mission. Having diverse perspectives when setting the future agenda is crucial in tackling the timely social and environmental problems local communities are facing.

In today’s market reality, founding or joining business-led CSR coalitions is a practical next step for forward-thinking organizations that already understand the value of corporate citizenship.

Organizations participating in these coalitions will realize positive results in talent management and a competitive advantage in capturing business profits. Organizations not yet involved should appoint suitable leaders to interact with industry peers and experts and support the founding or entrance into an appropriate coalition. Through rigorous interaction with local communities and social causes, insurers will expand their business while recruiting and retaining top talent.

About Brad Whatley

Whatley is senior vice president of The Jacobson Group. Phone: 800-466-1578.

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Insurance Journal West December 17, 2018
December 17, 2018
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