- Corporate social responsibility
- Employee giving
- Employee volunteering
- Corporate Social Responsibility
With corporate social responsibility (CSR) becoming increasingly popular, it’s essential to figure out how your business plans to participate and what you can do to make a difference. Most Millennials and members of Gen Z highly value or at least consider companies’ commitment to CSR when deciding where to work. But after creating a program, you still need to consider how to get your employees involved.
For organizations interested in starting a CSR program for their employees, we’ve compiled a list of ideas you can put into action today to improve employee engagement and make a difference.
1. Lead by example
CSR for employees starts with CSR by leadership. When your management team is engaging in and supporting philanthropic practices, employees are sure to follow.
For example, try writing a quick blog post about your first CSR experience. Whether it was hilarious, touching, or something in-between, putting yourself out there will inspire your team!
2. Empower your employees
One of the best ways to get employees involved in CSR is by making it their responsibility and giving them opportunities to engage with causes they are passionate about. Encourage employees to create their own plans and ideas on how the company can get involved in philanthropy. This added ownership will provide them with a sense of pride and commitment in seeing it through.
3. Track your impact
When people take the time to participate in a CSR program, they want to know the impact they are making. Keep track of your donations or volunteer hours using specialized corporate philanthropy software. This also gives you the opportunity to set team or yearly goals that everyone can work towards.
Corporate philanthropy software often includes engagement features like time-tracking, deadlines, custom microsites, and more. When your team can view their shared impact, engagement rises.
4. Get others involved
Corporate responsibility doesn’t have to be limited to just employees and management. Many employees are likely to recommend corporate volunteering to their peers, meaning your CSR program can include their friends, family, and whoever else they would like to invite. You can even incentivize getting others involved by making it a challenge to invite as many people as possible to create a huge event. The more people you can involve, the better!
5. Make opportunities accessible
Make it easy for employees to participate in CSR by finding ways to incorporate donating and volunteering into the workday. Or, better yet, make an event of it and spend a day outside of the office helping others.
For your first planned CSR opportunity, set a date four to eight weeks in advance so everyone can plan accordingly.
6. Encourage friendly competition
An effective way to promote CSR for employees is to make it a game or competition. Create teams by departments or even employees vs. managers. Design t-shirts for the teams, award prizes, and encourage employees to come up with creative team names. This makes engaging in CSR efforts fun and unites everyone involved under a shared purpose—beating the competition.
7. Recognize participants
You can improve engagement by recognizing your top employees who participate in CSR. Create a goal and offer rewards for those who reach it.
Social media recognition and employee shout-outs are completely free ways to recognize your most engaged employees. You can offer other rewards as well, such as prizes, taking employees out to lunch, or providing extra time off.
8. Provide regular updates
Provide employees with ongoing details about your CSR initiatives. Create a monthly CSR newsletter or email to send out to all employees. This can include a reminder of upcoming events, a progress report on goal status, and updated information on the number of corporate volunteer hours logged or the amount of money donated.
Sharing regular updates will reinforce that the work your employees are doing matters. Stay informed on the causes your team supports and include current details about them in your CSR newsletter.
9. Gather employee feedback
Who is involved in the decision-making process? Is it one person? A board of leaders? What about the employees? A CSR program for employees should take employee feedback into consideration to ensure they connect with and participate in your program.
Survey your employees and ask questions such as:
- How many hours are employees willing to volunteer?
- Would employees rather donate time, money, physical items, or something else?
- What organizations or movements are employees most passionate about?
Talk to your employees about the CSR process, whether it was easy to participate in, what their overall impressions were, and what they would like to see done differently next time.
10. Be ready to change nonprofit partners
Not all nonprofit partners will align with your business’s CSR objectives, even if they have a worthwhile purpose.
Ask yourself: Have the leaders of your organization talked with a point of contact from the organization you’re looking to work with? How well do they communicate and engage with you? If a partnership isn’t working out, be willing to look for alternatives.
11. Launch a trial campaign
For many employees, it will be easier to commit to your CSR program if there’s a deadline or specific amount of time designated for the program.
Ask employees to participate in a “trial campaign” to give certain programs a chance for a given period of time, such as one or two weeks. This should give them enough time to get to know the process and consider its potential long-term outcomes.
12. Turn it into lunch
If you organize a company volunteer day that happens to be over a weekend or goes longer than five hours, ask your point of contact at the organization you’re helping if you can cater lunch for everyone involved. This turns a day of volunteering into a company bonding experience.
13. Host an after party
To thank everyone for their time and hard work, host an after-party at the office or a nearby location. This is another great way for coworkers to get to know each other outside of work and reflect on the experiences they had with your CSR program.
Next steps: Promote CSR for employees
Engaging employees isn’t always easy, but their involvement is what drives your CSR efforts and makes them successful. Invite your employees to shape your CSR initiatives to create a program they’ll be invested in long term.