There's been a lot of discussion about how much Americans have changed in the past year. We've seen humanity's darkness during the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas that left nearly 60 dead and more than 500 injured or during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, there were also sparks of light, like the nation's outpouring of support for hurricane survivors after Harvey, Irma, and Maria hit the mainland and Puerto Rico.
In the future, we expect to see more fully engaged citizens who want to make a positive impact in the world around them. If you're a corporate social responsibility leader, this should change how you approach 2018. Here are some trends that we expect to hold true for the new year.
An Increased Focus on Employees:
Companies have long had a philanthropic arm, but little attention has been paid to the employees' involvement. However, as we move into 2018, we'd encourage companies to get employees involved. Employees can serve the community through "Days of Service" where they work together to help one of the company's favorite causes. There are also options like matching gifts/grants or dollars for doers.
Generation Z Will Continue to Hold Your Company to High Standards:
Much like their Millennial Counterparts, Generation Z is focused on the impact companies have on the world. In a study by i4cp, 93% of those from this generation said that a company's impact on society affects their decision to work at or purchase from the company.
The Current Social and Political Climate Will Continue to Influence Citizens:
Since the Women's March in the early days after the Presidential Inauguration, individuals have been activating around issues they care about whether that's environmental initiatives or human rights. They will continue to activate around the issues that matter to them and, as we've seen in the past, will choose to partner with companies — whether as consumers or employees – that align with their beliefs.
More Companies Will Align Initiatives Around the Sustainable Development Goals:
The Sustainable Development Goals call for action by all United Nation member states — poor, rich and middle-income — to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. The goals recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
By aligning around the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, which are made up of smaller targets, corporations can choose among major initiatives they want to take on. It's also provides a clear way to structure annual corporate social responsibility reports, which we believe will be transformed thanks to the SDGs in the future.
More People are Getting Involved in Corporate Social Responsibility:
Corporate social responsibility roles were once add-ons for various Human Resources personnel. Now, however, more people are getting involved in various initiatives whether that's the marketing team (think REI's #OptOutside campaign) or the C-Suite executives who understand that Millennials and Gen Z-ers are more likely to purchase items if a company's belief resonate with their own.
Where do you see CSR heading in the future? Let us know in the comments.