Consumer and employee mindsets are changing. Businesses can no longer exist without putting in the work to do good both inside and outside of the organization. CSR and DE&I programs are the way that businesses can work on these efforts. These programs, while similar, are not the same thing and vary greatly in terms of objectives and scope. 

What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business model or program that helps companies create accountability for the impact they make on society. CSR is a way that companies can show up for their values in terms of social causes, economic and environmental impact. 

CSR can be broad or narrow depending on the company, their employees, their consumers and more. No matter the focus of any CSR program it should work to have a positive impact on their community or the world. Common examples of CSR programs include:

  • Reducing environmental impact
  • Going carbon neutral
  • Prioritizing hiring veterans, minorities, or people with disabilities
  • Paying employees for volunteering 
  • Donating to causes that align with the business

What Is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is another way that businesses can show up for their values but within the scope of their own employees. DE&I programs cover three distinct facets of employment:

  • Diversity – this covers the current and future hiring goals for your business. Who works for your business? What roles do they fulfill? Does your staff all have the same characteristics in terms of age, race or ethinicity, sexual orientation, disability? 
  • Equity – this covers fair pay, treatment, access, and opportunity for advancement for all employees, and tries to make employment decisions as impartial as possible.
  • Inclusion – this covers your company culture. Are people welcomed to participate and contribute in meaningful ways? Who gets invited to which meetings and why? Inclusive working environments seek to be respectful and collaborative, and remove barriers, discrimination, and intolerance. 

Similarities and Differences Between CSR and DE&I

At the core, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focuses on being good to the world and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) focuses on being good to your people. There are some aspects that can be similar between CSR and DE&I programs but they generally differ in scope. 

For example, a company can work on their DE&I program, part of which can include hiring more veterans. From there they will need to follow through on both the equity and inclusion parts of the program throughout the employees’ time with their company. 

A similar CSR program could look like Starbucks’ goal to hire 5,000 veterans in 2021. This is just one component of their CSR program which also includes hiring 10,000 refugees, and reducing the environmental impact of their cups. 

Do Companies Need To Choose CSR or DE&I?

Companies do not need to choose between CSR or DE&I – they can do both. Choosing to pursue a CSR program, DE&I program, or both depends on a lot of factors for your business. Both CSR and DE&I programs are great ways to help your company build trust with new employees and customers.

We firmly believe that every company should have a DE&I program. Having a staff of diverse backgrounds that can work effectively together makes your business stronger. Diverse life experiences help to bring new unique ideas to the room that would otherwise be missed when all of your employees look and feel the same way. Plus, in our current employment landscape, top talent wants to work for companies that prioritize DE&I at every level.

Having an additional CSR program is a great way to get both employees and customers to think of your business favorably while positively impacting your community. This can go a long way in helping keep your top talent with your company for even longer, and can help to build life-long customer relationships.

Transcendent Law Group offers Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Implementation & Training that speak directly to the organization’s culture. We assist companies with implementing new programs and strategies and assist organizations in updating more mature D&I programs. Contact us today to learn more!