Employee engagement is a top priority for most organisations in 2021. One of the best strategies to achieve high employee engagement is often overlooked: CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR is the idea that a business has a responsibility to the society that exists around it. Organisations that embrace corporate social responsibility are typically organized in a way that empowers them to be and act in a socially responsible way. It’s a form of self-regulation that can be expressed in initiatives or strategies, depending on an organization’s goals. CSR is good for society and it is also an effective way to get employees more engaged. Research by marketing agency Cone Communications found that nearly two-thirds of young people won’t take a job at a company with poor CSR practices; the survey of 1,000 people found 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company, and 83% would be more loyal to a business that enables them to contribute to solving social and environmental problems. So what is the best way to leverage CSR to boost employee engagement? In this article, I share three strategies to improve employee engagement with CSR in 2021.
1) Involve employees in CSR decision making
A key step to improve employee engagement through CSR is to empower your people to steer their own CSR journey. When people feel in charge of the decisions, they are more likely to commit emotionally and to feel personally accountable. Try and give your employees a voice in your CSR initiatives to get some initiative coming from your people.
For example, you can host a working group or send a survey asking what type of activity or cause people are most interested in.
It might be a local cause or it might be a global cause, but the cause should be supported by the majority of your team. This will help people know that their opinions matter and that you want them to have a say in the CSR direction. Allow the selection process to be decentralized, where each local team can choose what cause matters most. Create as much transparency as possible with your voting system, so that every single employee feels like they can truly contribute to the final decision.
2) Combine CSR with learning and development
93% of employees say that well-planned employee training programmes positively affect their level of engagement. It is no wonder that CSR initiatives that include learning and development opportunities are more successful.
Another study by Gallup reveals that 87% of millennials rate professional or career growth and development opportunities as important to them in a job.
Think about how you could offer new CSR initiatives to your employees that would enable them to learn a new skill. You might appoint an employee to run a fundraising event, providing them with event management experience; Where you can, coach and advise employees rather than doing everything yourself. Give employees the skills they need to be self-sufficient in running CSR initiatives; Expect to receive a new perspective from employees volunteering in CSR initiatives: when employees volunteer to drive CSR initiatives, they develop their entrepreneurial spirit and see things through different lenses, which boosts their engagement.
3) Communicate both internally and externally
Effective communication is well-known to increase employee engagement, and when it comes to CSR, good communication is the cornerstone of an engaged workforce.
According to Gallup, 74% of employees feel that they’re missing out on company information and news and other research suggests that only four in ten employees can confidently describe to others what their employer does.
You should make sure that your CSR initiatives get the best internal exposure; take the time to clearly explain the cause, the goals and the KPIs. It is also important to communicate externally to your clients, prospects and external stakeholders, through social media and company newsletters. CSR is a great opportunity to position your brand as purpose-driven. This will show customers and employees that you care about the society you live in and you want to make a positive difference. Communicating your CSR initiatives will have a great impact on the organisation’s brand and how engaged your people feel. By focusing on the intent, approach and impact, companies can significantly improve employee engagement.
CSR is a fantastic way to boost employee engagement within your organisation. Your employees work incredibly hard for you so when you show them how much you appreciate their work, their engagement and sense of belonging significantly increases. Contact me today to find out how to leverage diversity and inclusion to boost employee engagement in your organisation.