Skip to content
We are now Bonterra

Learning the basics of CSR and employee engagement: 5 FAQs

July 01, 2023
This image depicts four business employees discussing the basics of CSR in a semi-outdoor area.

An innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy can substantially improve employee participation and workplace culture. Yet a scalable and inclusive solution is vital to cultivate experiences that allow participants to give back in meaningful ways. What's the best way to launch and improve a CSR technology platform? 

In this guide, we’ll cover some frequently asked questions about employee CSR technology to help you implement your own solution for your corporation. Let’s get started!

1. What is the first step to implementing an effective CSR strategy?

The most successful corporations start very small and allow their CSR strategy to grow over time. When you’re just getting started, keep in mind that employee engagement is crucial to an effective CSR strategy. Lean into your employee base to uncover ways they’re already giving back and find out how your company can support those efforts—this is a great way to get your foot in the door. 

Initiating something as simple as a volunteerism program is a great first step towards engaging your workforce in CSR. Start by giving employees a tool and a space to begin collaborating on community-based needs or local causes and scale your program from there.

Another key factor to consider is how your CSR strategy will tie into your company’s values. This will help you clarify the “why” behind your actions and help to foster more intentional CSR programs. By aligning corporate philanthropy with your company values, you’ll be able to hone in on where you want to direct your efforts and obtain leadership and employee buy-in.

2. Without dedicated CSR staff, who should administer CSR initiatives?

This is a really common roadblock for corporations that are just starting their CSR programs. We recommend starting with HR professionals who manage benefits programs. We also recommend integrating your CSR offerings with specialty benefits. Just like you have PTO policies in place, you can just as easily offer Paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) and manage and track those hours within your HR portal.

Although we often see HR as the first point of contact, executive buy-in is key to scaling your programs. Leverage the power of your company’s leadership team and encourage them to communicate giving opportunities across multiple channels, divisions, and markets. Pairing HR and leadership is a powerful way to build your corporation’s CSR program and encourage participation.

3. How do I make a case for an allocated CSR budget and resources? 

When making a case for an allocated CSR budget, take the angle of employee acquisition and retention. According to a survey by Gallup, it costs approximately 148% of an employee's salary to replace them when they leave. That means that employee retention is crucial to the financial success of your corporation. And, employees who are actively engaged in giving and volunteering are 57% less likely to leave their jobs.

Being able to present your employees with a benefits package that goes beyond paid time off and encompasses employee giving is extremely compelling to existing and prospective employees. There’s a plethora of research to support the importance of social impact programs during the recruitment process. Over two-thirds of employees care about working for a socially responsible company—one that just doesn’t put something on the website, but instills it in everything they do. 

By implementing an employee-led CSR strategy, you’ll encourage employees to engage further in their work. This not only allows you to more easily attract new talent but also results in higher employee retention rates. Having an allocated CSR budget and resources can only support that.

4. How should companies leverage technology to engage their employees with CSR?

The number one consideration of CSR should be ease of use. This is where CSR software comes into play. By leveraging a single-platform solution that is accessible via mobile and web browser, easy to log into, and supports flexible forms of giving, your employees are sure to get engaged. Once you have this technology in place, the possibilities for CSR programs are endless!

Here are a couple of tried and true ways to engage your workforce in social impact through technology:

  1. Matching gifts: Amplify employee engagement initiatives by matching the donations they make to nonprofit organizations. Plus, promote specific causes by matching gifts to key nonprofits at a higher rate.
  2. Payroll deduction: Give employees the chance to support causes they care about on a recurring basis with payroll deduction. A CSR solution will streamline payroll deductions by automating them, allowing employees to give without extra effort on their part.
  3. Credit card giving: Make it easy and convenient for your employees to give back by enabling credit card giving. 
  4. Volunteer opportunities: Display volunteerism opportunities with featured organizations or let employees search for remote opportunities independently with skills-based filters through your CSR software. 

With an agile CSR software solution, you’ll simplify your existing CSR initiatives and operations, making it easier than ever for employees to give and participate. Plus, you’ll open a new world of CSR opportunities that would be difficult to implement without such a solution. That makes investing in dedicated CSR technology a great option if you’re looking to scale up your corporation’s CSR programs.

5. When it comes time to evaluate your CSR programs, what kind of data should be collected?

Be intentional with the data you pull about your CSR program. To drive your data analysis, consider what you already know and what information you’re missing. Ask the following questions:

  • What causes are your employees aligned with?
  • What nonprofits are they giving to?
  • Where are these organizations located?
  • What is the average gift size?
  • How many hours are they volunteering?

Once you have deeper insights into how and where your employees give, you can support their efforts and build your CSR programs around the causes your employees care about. If you can show your leadership team where employees want to give and how they want to give, your executives will be more likely to offer additional support and resources.

Implementing a successful CSR program

With the help of this guide, you should be well on your way to starting or improving your CSR initiatives and programs. If there’s one concept you should take away from this article, it is that your CSR initiatives should be based on your employees’ giving. Make sure that you thoroughly research their preferences and giving patterns to ensure the success of your program!

Ready to Get Started?

    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Volunteerism
  • Corporations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Employee giving
  • Employee volunteering