Engaging employees in CSR activities…
To many of the general (more skeptical) members of the public, organisations who have CSR practices in place, are doing so, because the organisation understands that these days, consumers choose brands based on more than just price, quality and reputation – Consumers want to look beyond the aforementioned, digging deeper to find out how the company is being run, the positive effect the organisation is having on their local communities, and the good the organisation is creating for the environment.
Organisations understand that it is these CSR values that consumers now look for, and if the consumer identifies with them it can have a very positive effect on their relationship with the brand. And so these days companies are going above and beyond the basic requirements of CSR activities.
But there is also another key audience that can be positively engaged through CSR practices, and it’s an audience that when engaged, can be a huge advantage to the company – Employees.
We’re just going to quickly go off on somewhat of a tangent. We’re currently reading Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. It is brilliant, well worth a read. The author (Dan Pink) discusses the evolution of our understanding of motivation, advocating that we (notably businesses/employers) should focus on moving away from merely a carrot and stick approach, to one that focuses on intrinsic motivation. Pink argues that we tend to think it is high salary and stature we seek in our lives, however, it is the fulfilment we derive from our deeds that tends to win out in the long term.
Hopefully you’ve worked out the relevance of the above and the reason for our slight departure away from CSR, that being, engaging employees on CSR is a key motivational driver as it allows organisations to move from motivation 2.0 (carrots & sticks) to motivation 3.0 (Intrinsic).
How engaging employees on CSR leads to engaged employees:
1. When employees understand the bigger CSR objectives of the organisation and how individually, they, the employee can play a part in helping the organisation achieve them, they feel an important part of the organisation.
2. Employees will have a more positive perception of the company they work for if they see the organisation to be committed to contributing to the environment around them. Leading to high levels of loyalty.
3. Doing well to others, creates a happier workforce, which is a contributing factor in achieving employee engagement.
The benefits to organisations of engaging employees on CSR:
Of course, the number one benefit is engaged employees. We all now know the knock on effects of this:
1. Increased productivity
2. High staff retention
3. Strong brand ambassadors – Employees who are engaged through CSR practices will look to actively share their CSR experiences with others. This can be within the organisation and so can help to increase participation from others. And also outside of the organisation, so strengthening the organisations brand.
4. Makes the organisation an attractive place to work – Able to attract top talent.
5. CSR becomes embedded within the culture of the organisation.
6. Reduced environment footprint and costs.
Things to consider:
• You need to give employees the power and voice to choose which CSR activity to undertake. This makes them feel even more engaged as they will be doing something close to their beliefs.
• But, ensure that the individual activities are inline with the businesses over-arching goals for CSR.
• Yes, CSR needs to be cascaded down from the top of an organization, but it needs to be an (ongoing) conversation that is held between all levels of employees. This connectivity allows for employee inspiration and deeper involvement in the company.
• It’s important to remember that the decision to participate in CSR activities comes from within the employee; companies can’t order their employees to participate. But organisations should put models in place that encourage, support and make it easier for employees to undertake CSR activities.
• It goes without saying, but social media will be at the heart of all CSR initiatives. Employees will use (internal & external) social media channels to identify relevant CSR activities they would like to be involved with, and then they will continue to use the social platforms to hold further conversations to help spread the CSR message. Social media is arguably what is fuelling employee CSR activities.
In today’s world, university leavers (the workforce of tomorrow) are opting for jobs that make a positive social or economic impact, focusing less so on personal financial gain and more so on job fulfillment.
Therefore CSR looks set to be a key tool for engaging employees. And so clearly it’s a win-win situation, with both the employee and organisation benefiting.
Until next time