In the last few years, thousands of Amazon workers signed an open letter making demands of their employer, hundreds of Walmart employees staged a walkout and 5% of Coinbase employees quit because of a new company policy.
There’s nothing new about groups of employees pressuring their employers into certain actions, or at least trying to. Workers protests have been around for millennia. What’s surprising about the three examples above is that the demands were largely unrelated to worker wellbeing. Amazon, Walmart and Coinbase employees were asking for improved environmental sustainability, discontinuation of firearm sales and support for Black Lives Matter respectively. These workers were urging their employers, not to boost pay or improve work conditions, but to be more socially responsible.
It’s not just these three workplaces that are experiencing a rise in employee insistence for corporate social responsibility (CSR). Research by Marketing Scenario Analytica finds that CSR employee activism almost tripled from 2019 to 2020 (there’s no data on 2021 yet) and a survey by Edelman finds that employees care more than ever about their employers CSR.
Bottom line? CSR is becoming a serious HR concern and an important employee benefit.
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