PRSSA national president Harder wins the Battle of Big Ideas

Heather Harder, national president of the PRSSA, won the Battle of Big Ideas on Tuesday at the PRWeek Conference in New York when she described how a company's CSR efforts must be integrated into its business model to be seen as truly authentic by Millennials.

Heather Harder, national president of the PRSSA, won the Battle of Big Ideas on Tuesday at the PRWeek Conference in New York when she described how a company’s CSR efforts must be integrated into its business model to be seen as truly authentic by Millennials.

Harder faced off against four other participants, including Paulette Frank, VP of sustainability at Johnson & Johnson; Dan Solomon, MD at Litton Entertainment; Rob Imig, SVP of global communications and PR for Kiehl’s Since 1851; and Aman Singh, VP of business and social purpose at Edelman and former editorial director at CSRwire. Below are some of their key takeaways.

Harder:
"If you want to keep Millennials at your company and retain them; it is not just surface level. You have to dig deeper. It can’t just be a recruitment method –it actually has to be integrated into the business model."

"You have to show [staffers] that your company is contributing to the greater good; hopefully that will be enough to retain Millennials because you are fulfilling their highest level of needs and they are finding satisfaction in the workplace."

Frank:
"Perhaps the ultimate reason why companies should do good is because it makes the people they care about feel good."

Solomon:
"The most compelling reason to undertake a CSR program is not the good that it produces, but rather the bad it helps avoid."

"An effective CSR program will help people in your company think twice before doing bad. It allows external stakeholders to give you the benefit of the doubt when bad things happen."

"Employees who are volunteering with their colleagues are less likely to steal from their companies, and companies’ leaders are less likely to take fundamentally wrong steps."

Imig:
"Ultimately, philanthropy brings teamwork, decisiveness, and an operational foundation for success. With this in mind, every organization can increase operational productivity by doing good at the same time."

Singh:
"The authenticity of the brand lives with ambassadors internally and externally; it is not the story, it is who tells the story."

"A company’s ambassadors are its employees first. When you have them together, committed, and retained, that is when you find credible ambassadors outside to amplify your story."

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