10 tips on CSR and its role in engagement

Gary Cattermole explains how CSR can help motivate employees.

Once upon a time corporate and social responsibility (CSR) used to be considered by boardrooms as ‘fluff’, but the tide has turned and employee engagement is a top priority and CSR has followed suit rightfully positioning itself at the heart of business strategy. 

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Don’t be mistaken, CSR isn’t just about your business writing a cheque to a deserving charity, with the board feeling like they have done their duty. Switched-on companies ensure CSR is intrinsically woven into their organisation’s ethos, and research has proven that this will result in positive employee relations, such as increased morale, talent retention and productivity.  

But how do you implement a CSR campaign into your workplace? Here’s my top ten recommendations for CSR and how to ensure it’s a major motivational force for your employees.

  1. Make sure your CSR policy is embedded into your company’s values. If it’s just a bolt-on it will be perceived with cynicism and may not be the ideal fit for your organisation.
  2. Don’t forget CSR isn’t just about helping external not-for-profit organisations it’s also about looking after your employees. So, ensure your workplace is a healthy one and that your employees’ career and training needs are met.
  3. Never be false! For example: getting your staff to undertake a beach clean, or litter pick, may seem like a great idea, but if you don’t have your own recycling policies in place you’ll look out of touch.
  4. Employees are proud of employers who support their communities, it’s a real motivational force within the workplace if harnessed correctly. Let everyone know about your efforts, via the press, social media, intranet; it can also boost recruitment, talent retention and productivity.
  5. Ensure all areas of your organisation get involved with your CSR – raising thousands at the company’s fundraising ball isn’t enough. Link with an organisation that can help your employees grow, where their skills can develop by supporting others, and offer 1 per cent worktime to a great cause (2-3 days per employee a year), then you’ll reap the rewards.
  6. Gain the support of the CEO and senior management team; get them to join a company-wide initiative, such as planting new trees, it’s great for team building and to show that you’re all in it together.
  7. Consult with your staff to enable them to help steer the right CSR programme for your organisation. Do you want to focus on the developing world, or is it more crucial to support your local area?
  8. Over time CSR generates more engaged employees and research has proven these individuals are likely to take fewer sick days. So, why not create a rewards scheme for unused sick days?
  9. Remember, even if you’ve raised millions for charity, your staff will not respect you or go the extra mile unless you treat them with respect. A ‘thank you’ does go a long way!
  10.  Look at the bigger picture: remember we’re all small cogs in a very big machine. But if all businesses stepped up to their CSR responsibilities, together we can create positive social and environmental change. 

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