Attracting millennial talent through Corporate Social Responsibility

20th February 2019

By Brandon Davis
Director, Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility, CNA

First in a series of articles from some of IICF’s key partners.

How do you get talented professionals from the millennial generation excited about working for your company? You give them a direct line to positive impacts.

Millennials are the next generation to lead the workforce. We’ve heard that before. But how do companies attract — and retain — millennial talent? At CNA, we’ve found the alignment between millennials and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to do just that.

Millennials, myself included, demonstrate a deep connection to influence. We want to be the next generation that changes the world for the better. That influence is critical for companies to understand. By empowering employees to participate in initiatives that bring about positive change, employers boost millennials’ sense of empowerment, ultimately making the company a more attractive place to work.

CSR is a form of self-regulation ensuring a company’s actions have a positive impact on the environment, consumers, employees, communities and the public sphere. It’s the work we do for the betterment of tomorrow, beyond what is required by regulators, analysts and other entities.

By living and promoting a culture of CSR, companies give millennials a glimpse into the potential impact that they could make as a part of the team, as well as an opportunity to identify with the company’s mission and values early on — both of which will generate a connection that goes beyond the millennials’ day to day jobs. If powerful enough, that connection can increase the chances of retaining the millennial’s loyalty down the line.

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 75 percent of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.
  • 76 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work.
  • 64 percent of millennials won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong CSR practices.
  • 88 percent say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues.

At CNA, we continually work to build a strong presence in the marketplace related to our CSR efforts, while prioritizing recruiting and retaining diverse talent. By focusing our CSR strategy on a few key initiatives, outlined below, we have found success in attracting strong millennial talent.

Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) continues to be a topic of importance to millennials. Why? Because millennials were born into a more diverse culture, allowing this generation to inherently see the value in being inclusive of differences in the workplace. Millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S. history, now 44 percent minority. They grew up with social media, where they connect and work and socialize with people very different from themselves.

Employees are a company’s strongest asset – we’ve heard this before, too. Their collective power can be harnessed within by making an impact through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These formal or informal volunteer-led groups help foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace, keep issues or topics related to a specific population at the forefront, and engage employees beyond their day-to-day responsibilities.

CNA currently has six ERGs:

  • African American Employee Networking Group (AAENG)
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Employee Network (AAPI)
  • Growing Professionals @CNA
  • Organization of Hispanic Latinx Americans @CNA (OHLA)
  • Pride@CNA
  • Women Impacting Leadership (WIL)

These groups allow us to connect to the community, nonprofits and individuals from all walks of life, from around the world. They also help us attract millennials who recognize the importance of these types of initiatives — a culture of inclusion.

Volunteering and Giving
CNA has, for many years, been committed to giving back to our communities through corporate donations, payroll donations, matching gifts and employee volunteering. Recognizing millennials’ passion for making an impact, we’ve created an intentionally easy process for our employees to get out and give back.

It’s no secret that millennials also appreciate an efficient process. As employers, why not provide them with as much? At CNA, we have. By investing in a matching gift and volunteer platform, we’ve streamlined the giving process and put information and data at employees’ fingertips. Signing up for a volunteer event, making a matching gift, or looking up a history of donations is as easy as a few clicks.

CSR is embedded into the fabric of CNA. We believe in a shared responsibility, where all of us must work together, as an enterprise, across all geographies, to make the greatest impact possible. And for all of these initiatives, we’re thinking like millennials do: prioritizing influence, inclusion and efficiency.

To learn more about our CSR presence, visit or follow us on social media: FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram and our hashtag, #WeAreCNA.

One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.
Brandon Davis

Brandon serves as Director of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility for CNA. In this role, he is responsible for leading and advancing CNA’s strategic external communications, public relations, crisis and issues communications, media affairs, social media and corporate social responsibility initiatives and activities across the organization.

Prior to joining CNA in 2014, Brandon worked at Jasculca Terman, where he supported several clients, including the Chicago Community Trust, Urban Prep Academies, the Ford Foundation, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) and Advocate Christ Medical Group on strategic communications, event management and public relations efforts.

Brandon holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University. He also serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), a member of the Communications Committee for the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, and a member of the Executive Roundtable Committee for MATHCOUNTS.

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