Archive for February, 2010
Guest post by Stacey Davidson
This semester, I chose to take a public relations ethics class to round out my education at the University of Florida. I began the class not knowing what to expect and now, only four weeks into the semester, I can tell that this is one of the most beneficial classes I have taken in school. What do you think of when you think of ethics? A lot of people will say doing the right thing, or following the law, or even doing the right thing when it means not following the law. To me, ethics is about going above and beyond what is expected, to give back more than you were given, and to treat your publics with more respect than they deserve. Ethics in public relations is something that we cannot fake, both as students and one day as practitioners.
One way that ethics is becoming part of the mainstream is through corporate social responsibility. What was once a small PR tactic to encourage companies to give a donation to charity or provide added benefits to their employees, has now become a competitive business advantage for some companies (e.g. Starbucks) and an entire business model for others (e.g. Tom’s shoes). Corporations are expected to give back to the communities they work in as well as the global economy through sustainability and philanthropy.
Companies with high perceived CSR are more likely to have loyal customers as well as loyal employees and potential employees. Studies show that the average prospective employee would rather work for a socially responsible company, even if it means they receive less pay (the study said that on average people are willing to give up more than $14,000 each year in salary to work for a socially responsible company they respect.) In my job search this semester, CSR is one of the first things I research about a company. My goal is to work for a company whose ethical values mirror my own, because ultimately as an employee I am attaching my reputation to the company’s and vice versa. I want to be associated with a company that is highly respected as much as a company only wants to hire upstanding, ethical citizens.
What do you think? Is CSR something you look for in a potential employer?