CSR: Doing Good is Not Enough

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When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), doing good is not enough—one must also be seen to be doing good. Awareness is essential and perception is everything. For most people, the default expectation of corporations is that they are motivated by profit, often at the expense of all else. When Google founders included “You can make money without doing evil.” in their list of 10 Things We Know to Be True, they were deliberately swimming against the current of popular opinion.

SuiteImpact Team in action, Flickr

In the past fifteen years a series of corporate ethical debacles (Enron, BP, the Big Three automakers and their private jets, the Banking Sector, etc.) have done little to dispel the prevailing sentiment that many corporations lack the moral compass needed to make money without doing evil (or at least without general crookedness).

CSR on the Rise

At the same time, however, there has been a quiet groundswell developing in a different direction. Around the world, businesses of all sizes are moving to make a difference in the world, while still providing value to customers and generating a return to investors. These organizations are pursuing a number of approaches in an attempt to reassert social responsibility in the world of enterprise.

While some companies may be embracing CSR in response to market pressures, others understand that socially responsible businesses garner greater customer loyalty and are more attractive places to work. In competitive global markets, and when attracting and retaining talent is a continuing struggle, companies known for giving back to the communities they serve have become vendors and employers of choice. These companies also reap the benefits of a more committed and engaged workforce.

Does CSR Impact Engagement?

This was never more apparent to NetSuite (and TribeHR) than now, after our most recent employee engagement survey.

Shortly after NetSuite was founded, a corporate citizenship arm, NetSuite.org, was established. Always part of the founders’ philosophy, CSR was entrenched into NetSuite’s structure early on through this dedicated program designed to “support the success of charities and social enterprises across the globe with product donations, pro bono programs and social solutions.”[1]

Fortunately for NetSuite, corporate citizenship comes with added benefits. As the survey results clearly demonstrate, the existence of NetSuite.org has a strong impact on employees’ level of commitment and engagement. For example, the answers provided by the 1,732 employees, who responded to the following question, clearly show they are influenced by the company’s corporate citizenship efforts.

Engagement: Please rate your level of agreement with the following statements.

Because of NetSuite.org...

Even more interesting are the results that emerged when employee awareness of NetSuite.org was taken into account. When we focus on respondents who identified a high level of awareness of NetSuite.org programs, we see a significant increase in engagement indicators:

  • “I would recommend NS as a great place to work”
    • 73% of employees very familiar with NS.org strongly agree (versus 49% of those who haven’t heard of NetSuite.org).
  • “I know that NetSuite is committed to making the world a better place”
    • 63% of those very familiar with NS.org strongly agree (versus 34% of those who haven’t heard of NetSuite.org).
  • “I am more committed to my job”
    • 55% of those very familiar with NS.org strongly agree (versus 38% of those who haven’t heard of NetSuite.org).
  • “I am happier at my job”
    • 54% of those very familiar with NS.org strongly agree (versus 37% of those who haven’t heard of NetSuite.org).
  • “I am proud to say I work for NetSuite”
    • 73% of those very familiar with NS.org strongly agree (versus 53% of those who haven’t heard of NetSuite.org).

When we dig deeper into the responses from those who personally participated in specific NetSuite.org programs, we see an even further increase in engagement. 

  • “ I am proud to work at NetSuite”
    • 75% of SuiteVolunteers participants strongly agreeversus 60% of those who have not participated in SuiteVolunteers)
  • "I would recommend NetSuite as a great place to work”
    • 90% of SuiteImpact Team Participants Strongly/Somewhat Agree


  • 96% of employees who disagree/ somewhat disagree with the statement “I am more committed to my job” have NOT participated in SuiteVolunteers; and
  • 75% of employees who disagree/ somewhat disagree with the statement “I am more committed to my job” have NOT participated in SuiteImpact Teams.

Whether you call it Corporate Social Responsibility or Corporate Citizenship, NetSuite has always considered it fundamental to business success. And the results of this most recent employee engagement survey clearly show the company is on the right track.

What's more, the higher ratings provided by employees who are aware of and/or involved in specific NetSuite.org programs offer a further critical insight. While individual philanthropists may prefer to remain anonymous, companies who embrace the principle of creating social good on top of profit must also raise awareness of their actions among employees, customers and the broader public. Better yet, they should encourage direct employee involvement in corporate citizenship programs.

Corporations have an image problem, so it’s not enough that they do good. To overcome pervasive (if not entirely misplaced!) bias and engage their internal and external communities, they (we) must also be seen to be doing good.


NetSuite TribeHR, the social HRMS that’s fostering a more engaged workforce. Try it free today!

[1] About NetSuite.org http://www.netsuite.org/

Excessive Business Travel is Unhealthy

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Anyone who travels extensively for work knows it can be hard to stay healthy on the road (or in the air). Some of the factors that can erode the well-being of travelling employees include: Photo by Jessica Spengler, Flickr The contained environment on flights that efficiently recirculates virus-laden air. Too much sitting (whether driving or flying). Unhealthy food. Increased alcohol consumption at business functions. The stress associated with travel and being away from home. Breaks in regular fitness routines making it hard to maintain good habits. Exposure to unfamiliar health and safety risks. While business travel has been around since …

Centralized Versus Decentralized HR

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For companies with multiple, geographically distributed locations, deciding whether or not to centralize HR is a decision with broad operational and strategic implications. A centralized approach enables an organization to streamline departmental functions across a complex system. It also ensures that HR policies are applied consistently and that information is managed in a unified way. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain On the other hand, different locations are typically subject to distinct human resources regulatory and payroll tax environments, not to mention unique recruiting cultures; which lends weight to the argument for decentralization.   Multi-location companies that have grown through acquisition typically …

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

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Pumpkins by stevenW6, Flickr Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada – seven weeks earlier than American Thanksgiving, and way too soon to be considered a logical extension of the holiday shopping season. No doubt our hasty celebration of Thanksgiving has something to do with the shorter growing season and earlier harvest provided by our more northerly latitude. Proclaimed by Parliament in 1879 as "a day of General Thanksgiving,” the celebration was not tied to the second Monday in October until 1957. The origins of Thanksgiving in Canada are variously credited to Martin Frobisher, who gave thanks for the well-being of …

What Happened to Work Ethic?

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Last week, I was chatting with a friend who runs a small business. Since I’m always interested in (and writing about) HR, I asked him to share his most significant HR challenges as a small business owner. He gave me a look—followed by what could only be described as a rant (which I can’t comfortably document in a public medium!). After this lengthy vent, he settled on the following two challenges: Strong Work Ethic by regan76, Flickr Finding people with a work ethic. Finding people who are flexible and able to continually learn new …

Keeping Remote Workers Motivated

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The trend toward telecommuting shows no signs of slowing down. Between 2005 and 2013, the number of remote workers grew by nearly 80%.[1] The numbers show that 50 million workers in the U.S alone could (and want to) work remotely.[2] As this data demonstrates, people who work remotely are often involved in the decision to do so. In fact, many remote workers specifically seek out roles that allowed them the flexibility to work outside the office. When asked, 79% of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home at least part of the time.[3] Working in Isolation In spite of this …

Continuously Improving Onboarding

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Cooperation by Marina del Castell, Flickr Onboarding is a critical component in the successful integration of new hires and can have a great impact on employee satisfaction and retention. For that reason, we prioritize it at TribeHR and have developed a continuous improvement approach to onboarding that is everyone’s responsibility. In a previous blog post I referenced this process as follows: Since we also ask new hires to identify something they can improve in the on-boarding process within the first 30 days (and then improve it), everyone is collectively invested in enhancing the on-boarding experience for new hires. This …

Who is the Customer?

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Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Many organizations place exceptional customer service at the heart of their mission. Sometimes, this focus on service is the primary element of their brand that sets them apart from the competition. For these companies, customer service is “mission critical.” But who, exactly, is the customer? Typically, a customer is thought of as the client, buyer, or purchaser of an organization’s products or services. For companies who identify customer service as a key differentiator in the marketplace, however, this perspective leaves too much to chance. Every employee who deals directly with these external …

I’m in HR and I Need a Laugh

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I sat down to write today’s blog and decided I needed a mood lightener. First, I thought about sharing one of those hilarious “it could only happen in HR” stories. But we’re not a big office and I’d run the risk of exposing personal information about an employee, so scratch that idea. Next, I dug through my humor folder, where I save stuff that tickles my funny bone, to see what popped. I had a reminiscent chuckle over this unattributed list found on a forum a while back.   Rules Left Out …

Paycards Versus Paychecks

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There’s been a lot of controversy lately over the use of payroll cards instead of paychecks for delivering employee compensation. The practice of using paycards was implemented by employers as a convenient way to pay employees who don’t maintain a traditional bank account. With many employers now processing payroll by direct deposit via electronic funds transfer (EFT), paycards offer a convenient alternative for paying employees who can’t receive their pay via EFT. More recently, some organizations have expanded their use of payroll cards. For example, MacDonald's has allowed individual franchise owners to decide …

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The Latest from Workplace Tribes
CSR: Doing Good is Not Enough October 20, 2014
Excessive Business Travel is Unhealthy October 17, 2014
Centralized Versus Decentralized HR October 15, 2014
A Tale of Two Thanksgivings October 13, 2014
What Happened to Work Ethic? October 10, 2014
Keeping Remote Workers Motivated October 08, 2014
Continuously Improving Onboarding October 06, 2014
Who is the Customer? October 03, 2014
I’m in HR and I Need a Laugh October 01, 2014
Paycards Versus Paychecks September 29, 2014