Improving Corporate Social Responsibility is a commonly cited goal in many businesses. The irony is once your employees engage with in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it’s been shown that they engage more at work too. Sometimes the tough bit is getting the ball rolling.
More often than not, there’s good reason that your employees aren’t getting involved, so let’s run through some of the most common reasons – and what you can do about it.
There’s some of the top reasons that can put employees off from connecting with your CSR strategies.
So, what can you do about it?
Hear us out on this one. If your employees are stressed and overworked, CSR activities will just seem like one more thing added on to a forever-growing to-do list. Although activities like volunteering have proven stress-reducing benefits – they might not be able to see past “how am I going to fit this all in?”.
So ensure that if you’re signing your team up to an activity, that they have the space and time to freely do it. Can that deadline be pushed back by a day? Is that routine afternoon task so important, that it takes precedence over your team member taking part in CSR? Could you considering buddying people up, so that one person can pick up some tasks (within reason) whilst the other is taking part in initiatives?
Being realistic about the level of commitment your staff can offer can help guide your decisions on what activities are right for your people and your business. But sometimes, all it takes is a small adjustment so that your employees can comfortably fit in an hour or two here or there, and feel supported by management.
One trend that we see all the time is that employees tend to embody the same habits that the executive staff do. In particular, if the decision makers are volunteering themselves, as well as keeping CSR front of mind by regularly discussing it during meetings, then employees will too. Simple!
Leading by example is such an effective method that really encourages your people to get behind your CSR. Show that you are practising what you preach: live and embody your values, and your passion for CSR will trickle-down through the organisation. And at the very least, your employees might get FOMO and want to get involved anyway! Win-win.
We mentioned above that a common reason employees don’t engage with CSR is a lack of value alignment. This could mean one of two things: either your employee isn’t engaged with your values, or your CSR doesn’t align with your values.
Or they may have specific CSR efforts in mind. When designing a CSR strategy, we always recommend that you consider a few key things to ensure that your CSR program is suited to your people and the culture of your organisation;
Show your staff that there’s something in it for them too. Throw out the stereotypes, CSR doesn’t just mean sustainability and employee volunteering isn’t just about painting walls, doing litter-clean ups and bake sales. I mean, it could be, but there’s so many more opportunities than that.
Our CEO, Caroline, always says she wishes she could bottle the feel-good feeling that you get from doing something kind for others. With the sense of personal satisfaction, productivity boosting, and connecting with the community aside, a little thought-of benefit is that volunteering can provide you with professional development opportunities.
With various trustee, advisory and mentorship roles on offer – your people will have the opportunity to challenge their skill set in new and dynamic ways, allowing them to tap into new abilities that they could bring into your business. By learning skills in a different environment, employees can improve their ability to work cross-functions within your business and (research suggests) they bring their ‘whole self’ to work after CSR.
Lastly, recognise the effort that they’re putting in. Nurture a positive work environment by thanking your employees for their extra contributions, and how they are helping build the company’s reputation going forward. A hand-written note or an acknowledgement can go a long way in promoting positive habits, and shows you really appreciate all their amazing work.
Our business engagement manager Fiona is absolutely passionate about getting people engaged in employee volunteering. If you have any questions, drop her a line and she’ll work her magic!
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