CSR—Impact on talent management, customer relations and culture | Global Law Group
Being part of WLG | impactWorld Law Group interviewed member firms Bruchou & Funes de Rioja, Chandler MHM and Faegre Drinker to discuss the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives within their firms. WLG | impact is an annual network-wide CSR initiative in which members carry out community projects to address environmental and social concerns. These projects, along with our member firms’ ongoing CSR initiatives, not only benefit communities, but also have the potential to strengthen company culture, promote talent retention, and more.
CSR and retention
Employers need to assess how they attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive job market. When deciding where to work, lawyers often consider a firm’s values. The integration of CSR initiatives that promote sustainability, help the environment, support the local community, etc. in a law firm’s culture can help with recruitment and retention.
Bruchou & Funes de Rioja (Argentina) has implemented several internal CSR policies to raise awareness of its commitment to the environment, sustainable development and ethical business to face competition in the labor market. The company’s Sustainability Committee oversees policies integrating economic, social and environmental concerns into the office’s culture and decision-making. These policies, coupled with the firm’s Pro Bono program, a diverse and inclusive work environment, and a spirit of innovation, are key to recruiting and retaining talent at Bruchou.
Chandler MHM (Thailand) is also taking steps to use CSR programs to retain talent. The firm says it has noticed that its lawyers feel fulfilled when they engage in community activities. The firm’s lawyers help train the next generation of lawyers, do pro bono work and participate in broader community development. For example, in May 2022, members of Chandler MHM visited Wat Tham Rong School as part of WLG | impact. They joined teachers and students to paint classrooms and create a school garden to grow vegetables. The level of engagement in the rural schools program demonstrated that company employees are committed to the program and enjoy participating. Chandler MHM says these programs have become “a recruiting selling point” for the company.
CSR initiatives are crucial for companies looking to attract and retain employees. A company’s values are constantly under the microscope of potential talent. When they see a company supporting the community and engaging in sustainable practices, it signals to them that the company has strong ethical values.
CSR and Customer Relations
Like employees, customers are also looking for companies that have strong CSR initiatives. Clients want to hire companies that match their expectations and values, especially when it comes to environmental and social issues. By implementing and maintaining CSR initiatives, companies can attract new customers and strengthen their relationships with existing customers. Several of our member firms have adapted their CSR approach to meet, or even anticipate, the expectations of potential clients.
Bruchou & Funes de Rioja noted that environmental, social, governance and sustainability issues have become key topics on Argentina’s public and corporate agenda. Many companies now include these issues in their decision-making processes when considering law firms or doing business. The company has recently implemented several environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and practices to meet customer expectations and make the transition to sustainability. For example, in 2021, the firm launched its Climate Action and Sustainable Business Platform, a new multidisciplinary legal team that draws on its consolidated practice in energy law, environment, sustainable business, clean energy , green finance, compliance and advice on ESG-related issues. This team responds to the growing need of companies facing these challenges in the conduct of their business. In addition, Bruchou & Funes de Rioja is also implementing its first sustainability report with a holistic approach to ESG and a long-term strategy. In 2022, the company began its Business Impact Assessment process, the first step towards certification as a B Corporation. By making itself more sustainable, Bruchou & Funes de Rioja can attract environmentally conscious clients who want to work with like-minded businesses.
Chandler MHM has also noticed that customers are embracing ESG principles and expecting their suppliers to do the same. Potential clients have even asked the company about its commitment to the community when considering working together. CSR is not only “nice to have” for the company, but it is considered essential. The company’s ability to demonstrate its commitment to the community, such as its WLG | impact projects, is essential to creating and maintaining client relationships.
Clients raise their standards when selecting law firms. They often assess how a company approaches CSR initiatives in addition to their usual criteria. To meet and anticipate these expectations, companies are striving to make sustainable decisions and integrate community work into their daily business model. By demonstrating to customers and the public that it is constantly evolving its CSR and ESG work, a company can get and stay ahead of the game.
WLG | impact and corporate culture
WLG | impact aims to connect World Law Group members and strengthen the network through community projects that address environmental and social concerns. The projects undertaken during this initiative not only improve the connections in the network, but also influence the culture within the companies. The goal of the program is to take local action to create global change.
Events organized internally in 2021 (“Bruchou Sustainability Week”) and 2022 (“Impact June in Bruchou”) to WLG | impact encouraged the members of Bruchou & Funes de Rioja to carry out ecological and sustainable tasks in their communities and workplaces. These tasks included a series of sustainable awareness and action activities such as Bruchou Insights webinars and sustainable initiative and action competitions. Ines Lucena Maguire, senior lawyer in charge of knowledge management at Bruchou, says: “These activities have raised awareness internally of all the CSR initiatives undertaken at Bruchou. WLG | impact strengthened the teams and provided a clear, long-term strategy to all members to move the company towards sustainability and conscious consumption. By helping their community, employees also had the opportunity to work together and better understand the values within their company. These actions and programs have strengthened the ties and culture focused on CSR at Bruchou & Funes de Rioja.
For Chandler MHM, one of the benefits of supporting CSR activities like WLG | impact is that they provide projects that members can collaborate on, fostering teamwork. CSR projects themselves are rewarding, as evidenced by the high levels of enthusiastic participation. Jessada Sawatdipong, Senior Partner at Chandler MHM, says, “CSR projects demonstrate that the firm is a responsible member of the community that values and has a long-term interest in the development of the legal community and society. Engaging in sustainable and local projects has allowed Chandler MHM employees to bond while contributing positively to their communities. Member collaboration and socially responsible projects demonstrate to employees and the community that the company has a culture that values teamwork and ESG.
Faegre Drinker (Illinois, USA) believes that its CSR programs provide its lawyers, professionals and support staff with the opportunity to play an active role in making local communities better places to live and work. The native pollinators project, which began during WLG | impact in 2021, was forged by the members of Faegre Drinker’s ESG working group and enabled them to carry out meaningful actions alongside their colleagues. As they continue to implement CSR programs as part of its corporate culture, Alison Kuipers, Regional Customer Development and Marketing Manager at Faegre Drinker, says the company “is looking forward to seeing the long-term effects of this and other CSR programs on his relationships”. with employees and customers in the years to come.”
CSR initiatives are no longer optional in a society where employees and clients value environmentally and socially responsible law firms. Activities and projects such as WLG | impact attract and hire CSR-minded talent and demonstrate a desire to make a difference in local communities. As these programs unfold over time, they change the culture of a company so that staff feel connected and fulfilled through collaborative projects and lasting change. By implementing and continuously improving its CSR initiatives, a company can differentiate itself in the market, improve corporate culture and do its part to have a global impact. Will your business be part of the change?