UK workforce left in the dark about companies’ CSR initiatives

Employees feel misrepresented and dismissed by their employers around corporate donations deducted from their own salaries, a study finds.

The nationally representative research across 2,000 UK working adults, commissioned by charitable donation platform Givey, unveils a concerning disconnect between employee charitable sentiments and employer contributions on behalf of their workforce alongside their corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The research reveals that by failing to prioritise transparency and the wishes of their employees, organisations are reducing the end amount that is sent to cause, diluting the purpose of their CSR function as a result.

The disconnect reveals a critical donation deficit of £5.4 million each year, with one in five employees stating they would contribute 20 per cent or more if their employer’s CSR programme matched the causes they cared about.

Employees in the Dark

Data outlined by Charities Aid Foundation – The Public Perceptions of Corporate Giving report 2014 – reveals that 61 per cent of British adults believe that CSR is merely a PR exercise; this is supported further by today’s research revealing a staggering 51 per cent of employees do not fully understand their organisation’s CSR initiatives at all.

Given that the average age of UK company directors at the top 100 companies is 57, the high proportion of over 55s unaware of their business’ CSR efforts suggests a worrying lack of awareness about charitable causes at the top levels of management.

Employees Look to the Top to Do More for Charitable Causes

More than a third (36 per cent) of employees say they feel their organisation should be doing more. Amongst millennials – those aged 18-34 – the level of disappointment rose to a staggering 44 per cent who feel dissatisfied by their employer’s corporate donation strategy. Londoners were equally frustrated – ranking the highest in the nation for levels of dissatisfaction in comparison to their regional counterparts.

Significantly, a fifth (21 per cent) of working adults also say they would donate a further 20 per cent or more through a salary-based contribution if their employer adopted a more widespread approach to donations, further supporting the causes that mattered most to them.

In a comparison of age groups, younger workers are the most willing to increase their donations with 27 per cent of 18-34 year olds saying they would do so. In a regional comparison 30 per cent of Londoners would boost their charitable donations by 20 per cent or more, higher the national average of 21 per cent.

In response to the research findings, Neil Mehta, CEO of Givey, says, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility has been reduced to a buzzword amongst employees, as a staggering number of working Brits are unaware of what their employer is doing to hit their CSR targets.

‘Our research reveals a nation of ethically conscious employees who are keen to do more to support worthy causes, however they’re faced with multiple barriers in the workplace that prevent them from putting their hard-earned money where it matters most to them.’

Mehta concludes, ‘Hopefully, Givey for Business will make the donation process easier, more fun, and incite greater levels of office donations for organisations of all sizes. In doing so, we hope to rejuvenate the face of CSR and ensure that it functions as more than just a corporate profiling tool.’

Further reading on CSR

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the