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Can you measure your company’s social impact and engagement?

April 07, 2022
Mature businesswoman in casualwear pointing at financial paper held by young male colleague while both discussing measuring social impact.

Employees feel most engaged when their everyday job duties contribute to their personal and professional goals, the company’s mission, and, at an increasing rate, the community. In fact, 60% of employees would take a pay cut to work at a purpose-driven company. Therefore, it’s clear that employers must consider CSR to attract and retain skilled employees.

To appeal to the new generation of socially-responsible employees, it helps to have concrete social impact metrics to prove what you’re doing for the community. If you haven’t collected this data before, it’s important to get informed to maximize your results. Let’s explore the fundamentals of social impact measurement and how it can benefit your company. 

What is social impact?

Social impact is defined as a lasting positive change that helps rectify a pressing social issue or challenge in your community. For example, your company could make a social impact by raising money for a local nonprofit or committing to using environmentally-friendly technology. 

How can a company make a social impact?

With such a broad definition, there are many ways your company can make a social impact. That being said, the most common and effective method to give back on the corporate level is by building corporate social responsibility programs. These programs should contribute to the greater good, further the values and mission of your organization, and engage employees. You might offer the following programs in your corporate social responsibility initiative:

  • company-wide volunteer days off
  • matching gifts
  • nonprofit sponsorships
  • fundraising campaigns for a cause

Work with your team to determine which of these CSR offerings are feasible for your company to try out. This could be based on your company’s size, industry, and existing relationships in the nonprofit world.

Social impact metrics to track

Now that you understand what social impact is and how your company can participate, let’s explore which types of impact data you should pay attention to.

Human resource metrics

As CSR programs usually depend on employee participation, your company should collect people-focused metrics through your human resources department. 

CSR programs benefit employees in numerous ways, so your company must be specific when analyzing the program’s unique effect on your people. Some helpful metrics to track include:

  • Job satisfaction of CSR participants compared to non-participants
  • Turnover of CSR participants compared to non-participants
  • Advancement rate of CSR participants compared to non-participants

These metrics provide important insight into CSR’s impact on your company’s employee retention, satisfaction, and engagement. Collect this information by sending out surveys to current employees and asking about CSR involvement during employee exit interviews. 

Communications and marketing metrics

How your company markets its CSR initiative externally can help you establish your brand, recruit talent, and develop business connections. Many companies embrace cause marketing to position themselves as an organization that cares about the community. In order to do that, they share their philanthropic work and results with peers, clients, and potential employees through media coverage, social media postings, newsletters, or a web page specifically dedicated to their unique corporate responsibility. 

To gauge your cause marketing campaign’s effectiveness, monitor the following key impact metrics:

  • External media mentions of recent or past CSR efforts
  • New social media followers/subscribers as a result of CSR efforts
  • Number of visitors who visit your CSR webpage
  • New marketing leads from media/social mentions of your CSR efforts

Ensure that the analytics you collect are intrinsically connected to CSR. For instance, it’s helpful to track your impressions after a local media company releases an interview with your CEO about your CSR program, but not necessarily when you get an uptick of website clicks due to an unrelated sales announcement.

Measuring social impact: The big picture

Understanding how to measure social impact is critical in deciding which CSR initiatives are most engaging to your employees and align with your budget. So, work with your employees to develop a clear path forward that appeals to their interests so you can make both your company and your community better places.

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    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Volunteerism
  • Corporations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Employee giving
  • Employee volunteering