Rosemary Macdonald gives her advice on how HR practitioners can implement charity partnership programmes that resonate with employees.
Supporting charitable organisations and grassroots initiatives is something that’s risen on many HR practitioners agendas over the recent months of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are concerned about choosing the right partnership that will show their company to its best advantage, driving recruitment and retaining talent.
Consider your employee and company values
First and foremost, HR professionals need to consider both employee and company values when it comes to implementing new charity partnership programmes. This will not only help with identifying a cause (or causes!) that will resonate with your talent but also ensure the company is able to communicate their core values through the choice of the partnership, strengthening brand identity.
Encouraging company-wide involvement in the decision process ensures employees are engaged and dedicated to the cause – which in turn, increases support in the initiatives building towards a successful partnership.
Take time to listen to employees. Implement CSR strategies that resonate with both them, and the company. This will help to inspire and motivate individuals to get involved. In turn, this benefits the wider society, and also has a positive impact on workplace morale, staff retention and employee engagement.
In fact, many individuals are keen to get involved in charity initiatives at work. Taking part in a work-sponsored scheme which they have played a part in selecting, gives them the ability to feel as if they are doing good, without taking too much time out of their hectic lives.
Take time to listen to employees. Implement CSR strategies that resonate with both them, and the company.
It’s also important for HR practitioners to identify partnerships that support the diversity of the community.
Being a national company doesn’t mean you can’t make a local impact – and vice versa
The current pandemic has highlighted the eagerness and commitment from businesses across the UK to support local communities. Whether it’s through providing care packages to frontline workers, or food parcels to the elderly or those ‘shielding’ – businesses of all sizes are doing their bit to support those in need.
Working with a community foundation model means that businesses can make an impact at a national and local level, by helping them divide grants between local organisations relevant to their CSR model.
For example, Migrant Workers Sefton in Merseyside offer support to vulnerable people, helping them get through this difficult time. Following funding from COVID-19 Community Support Funding, they have been able to provide food bank vouchers, as well as cover the helpline support from staff.
However, this is just one example of similar work happening across the UK, thanks to nationwide grants being distributed nationally.
Build a plan of action
A successful CSR strategy encourages positive business reputation and better brand recognition – as well as better ability to both attract new staff and retain current staff.
Consider the kind of support your company would like to offer, whether it’s providing training and pro bono consultancy, raising funds through office activities, or being hands on and offering employees the chance to get involved in development days.
Involving employees in initiatives to help charitable causes that they have helped pick keeps them engaged and motivated to continue the hard work, as well as helping them to feel aligned to company values. Over time, this can become part of a thriving company culture that draws top talent.
Research ways to get the most out of your strategy
Working with an organisation such as UK Community Foundations enables companies to have access to people and organisations that want to improve their communities – bringing charitable support to the people’s lives and places they serve, as well as making a real difference.
In 2017, Mars Chocolate UK launched their first new product in over a decade, ‘Goodness Knows’. In line with the launch, the brand also donated 10% of profits from sales to a Goodness Knows Fund – which was then distributed to groups and individuals across the UK to help overcome disadvantage and build strong communities.
If businesses successfully implement a CSR strategy and adopt support, cases like this demonstrate the value of reaching a variety of vulnerable individuals and groups, and the impact it can have on communities across the UK.
Ultimately, the employees are at the heart of companies, creating a company culture that has a tremendous affect on employee happiness, directly impacting staff retention and recruitment – embedding a charity partnership programme into a company aids this further, promising for a healthy and happy working environment.
About the author
Rosemary Macdonald is CEO of UK Community Foundations.