Corporate Social Responsibility is fast becoming a discipline where the newest, shiniest, most distinctive campaign steals the show. Interestingly though the hype is often short lived, with PR driven, strategically disjointed campaigns dying their own slow death over time. A well thought out program that addresses a real social need and is strategically aligned would however defy the odds. But there is one element that takes a program beyond the league of regular CSR programs. The magic factor; Employee involvement.
Your company’s employees, whether they are one hundred or one hundred thousand, are the biggest driving force behind your CSR initiative. Why? Because a message that is delivered by a die-hard fan of your company who is also an employee is a lot more believable than a billboard with the latest tennis star spreading awareness and a lot less expensive too. Most importantly, your employees are your most valuable CSR asset because they are in a unique position to view the program from the lens of a community member as well as an insider. The input, support and contribution of the employees therefore can make or break a program.
Are you interested in involving your employees in your CSR program? If so, here are three steps for doing just that:
Get them to make the choice:
One of the most common mistakes companies make is ask employees to get involved after the program is already crafted and finalized. The problem with this approach is that there is no sense of loyalty or ownership among the people towards the program. If you really want the employees to be excited about the programs and to be part of the change, you have to actively look for opportunities to involve them in the decision making process. It could be through departmental inputs or cross -functional CSR committees. The purpose is to make them feel part of the CSR process because they’re getting an opportunity to talk about issues most important to them as employees and as community members.
Make them an offer they can’t refuse:
Never assume that your people word be thrilled to volunteer and contribute to the program on top of all their existing work commitments. While this sounds great in theory, the reality is a little different. People are excited to be a part of social program that they believe in but not at the expense of their professional growth. If you really want them to drive your program, include incentives such as time off and Western Union’s 50 days of giving and you will create a cadre of enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
Celebrate the mavens:
Even though CSR is inherently driven by altruistic motivation, people who go above and beyond their expected roles in driving a program need special recognition. It could be in the form of a mention in the company newsletter, a thank you letter from the CEO or a place in the CSR Hall of Fame. You would be surprised at what a change such seemingly minor steps can make to the motivations of a person in stepping up to the challenge.
So, there you have it, the one habit that consistently helps a regular CSR program become exceptional. Do you have anything to add?