Dive Brief:

  • American workers want more social responsibility from their employers, according to the latest Role of the Company Surveyan annual poll from MetLife. Of the respondents, 70% think their companies should address societal problems, up from 63% in 2017. And just over half (52%) expect their employer to solve problems, an increase from last year’s 41%. The study is an examination of the increase in expectations that employees have of their organizations and the rewards employers gain from being good corporate citizens.
  • Key study results showed that 85% of respondents said good corporate citizenship is important where they work. Respondents also want their employers to make a difference in their community (76%) and the world (72%).
  • The study also examined employees’ loyalty when their work is aligned with their values. Among employees whose companies reflect their values, 85% described themselves as loyal, and 54% said they’re willing to go well beyond their work’s scope, compared to 44% and 4%, respectively, of those whose values and work aren’t aligned. Trustworthy leadership was found to be the most critical factor in creating alignment, with 93% of respondents saying it’s important but just 61% feeling that their companies are aligned with their values.

Dive Insight:

The “social enterprise” is on the rise, fundamentally changing the expectations employees have of their organizations. The study affirms what other studies have also shown: companies seen as supporting social causes, taking a stand on issues and solving problems unrelated to their core business earn the moniker “good corporate citizen.” Millennials, in particular, believe organizations should be partly measured by their corporate citizenship.

Corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility (CSR) aren’t new concepts, but seem to be undergoing a revival based on reports from the past few years. Much of that revival centers around company brand, which is key in recruitment and retention. Some of this push for corporate responsibility also extends to the political realm. A Glassdoor study from late 2017 found that 84% of respondents want employers to take a stand on regulations, legislation and presidential executive orders that could impact their lives and their employers’ businesses.

Companies that create opportunities for volunteerism and encourage employees to participate have shown to bolster employee engagement and, with it, their corporate brand.

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