Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keri Ohlrich completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Analyzing Corporate Social Responsibility’s Impact on Employee Attraction and Retention with a Focus on Generation Y -- Keri Ohlrich

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a paradigm shift in Corporate America. This is an evolution from the Milton Friedman classic ideology that corporations exist to maximize profits for shareholders to corporations as global problem solvers. Developing a CSR strategy can help companies remain competitive, grow market share, and enhance customer loyalty. As CSR has recently become part of corporate strategy, many corporations are confronted with an employee talent shortfall. This shortfall is attributed to factors from the simple fact that there are not enough people, like Generation X not being able to replace the retiring Baby Boomers to the more complex concept of a talent mismatch. CSR and talent intersect potentially as CSR could impact employee attraction and retention.

This research investigates this intersection of CSR and talent and examines the impact of CSR on employee attraction and retention, with a special focus on Generation Y. Interviews included 36 qualitative, semi-structured interviews of corporate employees and Generation Y participants. Questions were designed to uncover motivations and desires on why people leave and stay at companies. Interviews were administered telephonically with participants from two companies with CSR programs, a company without a CSR program, and Generation Y volunteers. Results suggest that potential employees are not as much attracted by the CSR program, but by the values of the company. In terms of retention, results suggest that employees do not necessarily stay at companies because of the CSR program. However, they may leave if there is a gross violation of the CSR program and associated values. From the findings, a practitioners’ guide was created. This guide outlines the drivers of attraction and retention that focus on iValue, iDevelop, and iRetain.

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