Study: Most employees won't work for a company that doesn't share their values

New research from Cone Communications found that a majority of respondents don't want to work for an employer that lacks their commitment to social or environmental issues.

Cone EVP Alison DaSilva
Cone EVP Alison DaSilva

BOSTON: More than half of employees say they would not work for a company lacking a strong commitment to social or environmental causes, according to a study released on Wednesday by Cone Communications on employee engagement.

The report highlights the importance of corporate social responsibility in recruiting and retaining talent. The survey gathered the opinions of 1,020 employees, finding growth in the number of staffers that want to work for a company that shares their values.

Millennials are at the forefront of the trend of "new workplace norms," with 64% saying they won’t work for a company with a weak sense of corporate responsibility, 13 points higher than the national average.

However, Alison DaSilva, EVP of research and insights, said she was surprised by the dedication to social and environmental issues by another group: Generation X.

Compared with 79% of mature millennials (ages 27 to 35), 68% of young Gen Xers (ages 36 to 44) said they consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. The national average is 58%.

"We’re seeing young Gen Xers as company managers having these same sorts of tensions in balancing work and life," DaSilva said. "I think the research does reaffirm that employees want to more closely integrate their different passions with the workplace."

Employees also want to have an active role amplifying a company’s positive impact through corporate responsibility, said DaSilva. Most respondents said companies that provide opportunities to contribute to corporate responsibility efforts make employment more fulfilling and engender greater company loyalty, with 77% arguing employers should provide hands-on activities for environmental causes.

The study also found that 93% of employees want to work for a company that "cares about them as an individual" and provides traditional benefits such as healthcare.

"A lot of clients focus on how to effectively communicate to and engage employees," DaSilva said. "Don’t forget tried-and-true employee communications tactics (newsletters, events, etc.). We expect the greatest growth to be around social channels, looking to and making sure employees have a chance to share what they’re doing within their network, to post pictures and share hashtags with the company, things like that. This could not only amplify the impact of the causes, but also serve as a reputational amplifier."

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