Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

The Influence of Corporate Social Responsibility, Psychologically Healthy Workplaces, and Individual Values in Attracting Millennial Job Applicants

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

The Influence of Corporate Social Responsibility, Psychologically Healthy Workplaces, and Individual Values in Attracting Millennial Job Applicants

Article excerpt

In an increasingly competitive global environment, corporations seek to attract the best job candidates (Breaugh, 2012, 2008; Chapman, Uggerslev, Carroll, Piasentin, & Jones, 2005; Ryan & Delaney, 2010; Rynes & Cable, 2003). Chapman et al. (2005) used meta-analysis to assess the contributions of different variables to applicant attraction. The perception of person-organisation fit is one of the strongest predictors of applicant attraction to an organisation (Uggerslev, Fassina, & Kraichy, 2012). Applicants appear to review the characteristics of an organisation in light of their own needs and values to determine fit (Chapman et al., 2005; Jones, Willness, & Madey, 2014) as well as their expectations of how the organisation treats its employees, and the reputation of the company (Jones et al., 2014).

One organisational characteristic that has been implicated in applicant attraction is the pride that an applicant takes in being affiliated with an organisation based on its reputation (Highhouse, Thornbury, & Little, 2007; Jones et al., 2014; Turban & Cable, 2003). Job applicants consider the reputation of organisations when applying for jobs and/or accepting job offers. They use their perception of an organisation' reputation as a signal about what the job would be like and the pride that they would expect from membership in the organisation (Cable & Turban, 2003; Jones et al., 2014).

One factor that influences an organisation's perceived reputation is its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR; Jones et al., 2014; Turban & Greening, 1997). CSR is widely defined as ". . . a business organisation's configuration of principles of social responsibility, processes of social responsiveness, and policies, programs, and observable outcomes as they relate to the firm's social relationships" (Wood, 1991, p. 693). CSR has become an increasingly important aspect of organisational strategy with stakeholder pressure for organisations to reform and to manage responsibly as well as profitably (Waddock, Bodwell & Graves, 2002). Peloza and Shang (2011) reviewed 173 studies related to CSR to identify the nature of CSR activities and outcomes. The vast majority of those studies were related to philanthropy and business practices, products, or services. Only eight of their identified studies dealt in any way with the impact of CSR on an organisation's employees and even fewer looked at the impact of CSR on potential employees. Recently, Jones et al. (2014) showed that an organisation's recruitment materials used at a job fair that suggested the organisation was committed to being involved in the community and to proenvironmental activities influenced applicant attraction. On the whole, research on CSR has shown that job seekers are more likely to pursue and accept job offers from companies with strong CSR values.

In examining the effects of CSR on applicant attraction, previous research has assumed that CSR policies affect applicants in basically the same way; that is, that all applicants are attracted by the values displayed by the explicit CSR policies of the organisation. Gully, Phillips, Castellano, Han, and Kim (2013) challenged the idea that CSR policies have the same influence on all job seekers. They showed that an organisation's CSR policies contained in recruitment messages had a positive impact on the attraction of job seekers who desired to have a substantial impact through their work on society and the lives of others. The values of these applicants were congruent with the values of the organisation contained in the recruitment message. Gully et al. (2013) believed that this desire represented an individual's striving for purposefulness and meaning in the work they do. There is a need to examine the influence of CSR policies at the individual level, particularly with respect to the values held by job seekers who are now entering the workforce.

Millennial Job Seekers

The Millennial cohort, workers born between 1979 and 1994 (Foot & Stoffman, 1998; Smola & Sutton, 2002), and who are now entering the workforce, is estimated to number 70 million in the United States (Trunk, 2007) and 7 million in Canada (Foot & Stoffman, 1998). …

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