CSR is much more than an acronym

It’s the season of giving, and while we initiate heightened times of giving throughout the year, many organizations make ‘giving’ a long-term staple through their Corporate Social Responsibility endeavors. The term Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is often equated with “doing good” for the surrounding community where companies champion their charitable and community-interest efforts as cornerstone values for their organizations. For Matlen Silver, the meaning is deep, and is intended to have lasting effects for our team members as well as the clients, candidates and community members we work with.

By definition, a company’s CSR is a deliberate commitment to its accountability in creating positive outcomes, and those positive outcomes come in many forms. While CSR generally centers around certain tenets such as environmental causes, philanthropy and charitable efforts, ethical labor practices and volunteerism, what a company chooses to support is often connected to their core business and where they can make a difference. There are large companies with well-known initiatives that are highly publicized as part of their brand recognition. For corporate giants like LEGO and Google, part of their CSR effort is a commitment to combatting climate change through examples like energy-efficient offices and waste-reduction manufacturing processes. Both organizations can make significant change because of their size and reach.

Apparel companies like TOMS footwear and BOMBAS socks approach may seem simple – for each pair you buy, they give a pair to someone else in the world. Seems straightforward – shoes and socks –  yet, programs like these are critical to the health and well-being of many children and families in developing locations across the globe. Programs like TOMS have since reimagined the CSR model of shoe matching and evolved to donating profits to programs that support mental and physical health. In either scenario, however, the company prioritizes making an impact for good.

The examples of these companies are easy to draw upon, as they are household names and have consumer-friendly attraction. There is a high expectation that given their success and influence that they must ‘give-back’ or contribute in some way.

CSR efforts, however, are not relegated only to popular enterprise-level organizations. Whether a company is a large global conglomerate or a small-to-midsized local firm, corporate social responsibility can and should be engrained in the mission – never a fleeting fad – but rather a pillar of the foundation and core value system of an organization, no matter the contribution level.

CSR tied to core business: helping candidates find their best roles

As a staffing firm, the commitment to CSR is important to our company culture, and also extends to the talent pool and the hiring companies we partner with. At Matlen Silver, our goal is to make a difference in people’s lives based on their work. Our CSR efforts focus on increasing employee engagement and making connections for skill-building, career growth and new opportunities for the current and future workers in our communities.

Advancing Equity through Education

In speaking with Tina Haviaras, Matlen Silver’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Matlen’s commitment to working with the community aligns with her passions of giving back to those striving for new career opportunities.

“When I was starting out in my career, my path was unclear. I was fortunate that the company I worked for took a vested interest in my success, and helped guide me through learning opportunities and more to focus my career journey to where I am today,” shared Haviaras.

Working with organizations like Per Scholas, an educational organization dedicated to ‘preparing individuals traditionally underrepresented in technology for high-growth careers in the industry’, offers the opportunity to pay it forward.

With 20 campuses throughout several U.S. regions, Matlen Silver often partners with their southeast location to engage their student groups, known as ‘cohorts,’ in real life training on how to network and seek out opportunities in tech. Matlen team members volunteer their time to work closely with their students through workshops, training sessions and more to build resumes, practice interview skills, and learn tips for landing their best work opportunities. Students hear best practices and tips that are tried and true in the tech world, being delivered by tech staffing experts that know the ins and outs. Just this past year, several Matlen recruiters held mock-interview sessions with their cohort and just recently sponsored the Per Scholas Atlanta fundraiser, Unlocking Potential, Changing the Face of Tech. Haviaras continued,

“What makes being able to bridge Matlen Silver and Per Scholas possible is the support I found with leadership when I came here. I am incredibly passionate about this program as it truly works towards achieving the diversity and equity that many organizations in our industry have prioritized. The Matlen team recognized this program’s value and easily gave the green light to pursue this partnership. Plus, my colleagues are always willing to contribute as well. I am excited to see what the future holds.”

By partnering with Per Scholas, the students increase their networking circle for future employment connections. And in turn,  it expands the talent pool we can offer hiring companies who are eager to connect with new tech candidates.  Notably, though, by championing a cause that is important to our own internal team members, it is also a reflection of our commitment to doing good within our own company as well.

Honoring those who have served

Another program that has roots in the community with the goal of making meaningful connections through work is our Hiring our Heroes program. As the name suggests, we actively support our local heroes – our military veterans – in assisting their career goals as they transition from military to civilian life. The hiring companies we partner with are focused on supporting our veterans and look forward to working with them as they bring a wealth of experience and life skills to the positions they seek. Our veteran’s candidate experience includes resume writing, interview training, and inclusion in the Matlen Silver Excel program for reskilling and upskilling. We are proud to say that since this program inception, veteran hiring has increased over 25% and we are helping clients fill their in-demand technical and non-technical roles.

We also engage in partnerships with local veteran resources, like Veterans Bridge Home, that are focused on helping veterans and their families at any stage of transition from their active military career. This year, we were honored to be part of their Star Spangled Salute, an event dedicated to supporting military members and their families.

Why is CSR so important?

  • Socializes your brand
    CSR is a valuable tool for any organization to grow and expand their reach. A successful Corporate Social Responsibility initiative will have its inherent benefits: brand recognition, increased customer support from those who share in their cause, and goodwill promotion. However, it only works if it is genuine. Organizations must be careful to not exploit CSR in a way that makes it primarily self-serving. If awareness increases for the program supported by CSR efforts, then that is the best ROI.
  • Increases Talent Engagement
    CSR efforts set a tone within an organization that their teams can feel good about while also doing good. In a staffing firm, where the business is people, clients, candidates and internal members alike are making choices based on their professional goals, and they want to feel supported while making those choices. By actively supporting the programs that are dear to our heart, our talent network can feel confident that we ‘mean what we say’ and will be proactive in engaging, networking and making connections for their well-being.
  • Stamps the world in a positive way
    While any organization’s bottom-line is to be successful in terms of productivity, profitability and growth, by initiating Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, companies make a mark on the world to change it for good in a way that might be unquantifiable. Through CSR, companies can put dollar amounts on their efforts through money raised and donated, but the true effect of their contribution can have ripple effects in a single person’s life that are long-standing. In the instance of Matlen Silver, the more talented individuals we assist in preparing for their future jobs through volunteer education and support programs, the better opportunities they may have for a lifetime.

CSR in our mission statements

Corporate Social Responsibility can be a complex program, requiring significant effort from company teams and full support from leadership. In some instances, it might not seem to be a necessity in organizations who are incredibly busy with general business operations. That’s where the mindset needs to change. CSR is proving its value as a priority in general business operations. It becomes part of the brand, part of the people, part of the journey of a company and can leave a lasting legacy that in the end will be more memorable than any business plan could be.

At Matlen, we love to talk about the programs we are passionate about. Contact us and let’s work together to be the difference and change the experience for the work world around us.


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