Worldwide, a record number of companies are reporting on their sustainability performance. Whether these companies are reaching their employees with these messages is another story.
Two new studies uncover a disconnect between corporate responsibility efforts and employee awareness. According to a Public Policy Polling survey, nearly one-quarter (24%) of survey participants indicated their company has made sustainability a top priority in business decisions, yet only 17 percent said sustainability efforts are frequently communicated to the workforce. The 2009 Corporate Citizenship Survey, conducted by a group of firms, found a more startling figure – a full 70 percent of employees say they are not aware of any socially responsible practices their own employer is taking. A company’s social and environmental practices can affect everything from recruitment to employee pride, loyalty and retention, so inadequate communication has far-reaching implications inside a company’s own walls.
What’s more, employees serve as natural brand ambassadors for their organizations. Failure to adequately educate them about corporate responsibility efforts and initiatives hinders a powerful, cost-effective and credible channel for reaching consumers and other external stakeholders.