The University of Edinburgh in Scotland defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as the way companies take into account their social, economic and environmental impact, as well as how they consider human rights. Real estate specialists would certainly add brand strategy, financial outcome and employee retention to the list.
The multifamily industry in particular can play a meaningful role when it comes to practicing CSR. It’s not only making donations to local charity organizations, but also about how a company impacts its employees, residents, third-party partners and the communities they manage or own. If done efficiently, a good CSR strategy will result in more involved employees, increased profitability and happy residents.
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” Therefore, the adoption of a CSR platform is likely not only to improve a company’s overall reputation, but also influence employee retention. Moreover, CSR initiatives can serve as a boost to employee morale. But corporate responsibility also means thinking about all the stakeholders in a business. CSR stretches to a company’s partners. Suppliers and vendors that come to your property are seen as your appendix by residents, so they have to be part of your CSR strategy.
A financial challenge for the multifamily industry is resident turnover. The SatisFacts Index considers Staff Responsiveness and Dependability a top driver for lease renewal. Residents need to know that the on-site management team is always available and willing to solve issues. Thus, a powerful CSR platform will prove a company’s willingness to get involved. Organizing community events and allowing employees to participate in charitable causes alongside residents is seen as an extra benefit of working or living in a particular apartment property.
Last year, ManagInc presented the results of a study about the multifamily industry’s adoption rate of several best practices and perceptions of CSR actions. The research included feedback from 70 property management companies that manage more than 1.4 million units combined. According to the study, besides volunteering, green initiatives and charity, CSR is also about the working environment, living experiences and society.
ManagInc’s 2017 Multifamily CSR Benchmark Study also revealed that 90 percent of industry executives believe CSR can not only positively impact employee and resident retention, but also the company’s overall performance. Besides numbers and profits, performance is also measured by the way a firm gets involved in the community it manages and the neighborhood and city it does business within. CSR should be more than just a PR move and include a company’s employees, as well as its leadership team.
According to Forbes, it is expected for companies to continue to expand their activism throughout the year and invest in the issues that most matter to their employees, customers and communities. It is highly likely that CSR agendas will carry on their focus on community development and workforce diversity.