Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a hot-button topic in today’s business climate given the role businesses play in society. But this concept can be alienating if you’re unsure how you, as a small or mid-sized company, can become part of the larger conversation. At the end of the day, CSR — regardless of the size and type of business you run — is about purpose and building a business that people want to support and that supports its community in return.
So why should you partake?
- Build Customer and Employee Loyalty. Through programs that put the community first, you can motivate employees and develop goodwill both in and outside of your company.
- Improve Your Bottom Line. People want to support businesses whose initiatives they believe in. By investing in and developing brand messaging around their CSR programs, many companies see an increase in sales and overall brand support.
- Align Your Mission, Vision, and Values. In today’s world, people are most concerned with the “why.” If your business doesn’t stand for positive values or work toward something bigger than the pursuit of profits, then it will be impossible to build brand affinity.
- Showcase Your Leadership. Our planet urgently needs leadership to tackle the myriad of threats it faces. More than ever, businesses are spearheading efforts to develop and implement innovative solutions.
Establishing Employee Purpose
Employees don’t just want to hear about good work that’s being done, they want to actually do it; to be a part of something good. In other words, employees want to feel like they are doing something with a purpose. For many people, this purpose emerges when the company’s values align with their own values as well as the values of their social circle at large. With so much emphasis placed on working, particularly in America, it’s no surprise that people want their jobs to mean more than just a paycheck.
Job seekers want to work with mission-led organizations that do business the right way and have a positive impact. In fact, environmentalists make up to 37% of Fortune 1000 employees. As a result, you want to embody these same principles and use good storytelling to appeal to your customers and community.
Common Challenges with Employee Engagement
One of the biggest challenges companies of all sizes face is how to track or measure employee engagement. After all, what does a truly engaged employee look like? While this definition can vary depending on the needs of the business, an engaged employee is typically someone who:
- Focuses on learning and professional growth
- Takes initiative and wants to be involved (from both a bottom-line and CSR perspective)
- Identifies (when asked) as being fulfilled in the workplace
Once you’ve identified who is engaged, you then need to think about how to keep employees committed. This process can be time-consuming. Not every company has the bandwidth or manpower to constantly engage their employees in CSR-related initiatives. A business’ ability to respond to employee feedback and adapt their CSR approach can also be difficult if staffing is limited. This is particularly true for small-to-mid-sized businesses where a single employee may occupy multiple roles.
Connect Through Solutions
How do you get an individual employee to connect with the company’s purpose? By providing choices and diversifying your CSR offerings. Offer educational materials to your employees as well as giving and volunteering opportunities for causes they care about. You can use these offerings to help attract AND retain talent while leaning into your own values and purpose as a company.
Using the right technology can make all the difference. For example, EarthShare’s all-in-one CSR solution for businesses of all sizes is our Employee Engagement Platform. Create custom company funds with nonprofits you care about, set up volunteer opportunities, calculate the carbon footprint of each individual employee, and access a variety of educational materials to learn more about the environment and sustainability. Everything you need is in one place and accessible for your team with the click of a button, pushing CSR programs further into the digital future.
The Environmental Narrative
With all the social and economic worries we currently have in the world right now, why focus on the environment? What’s the benefit?
In recent years, environmental interest—especially as it pertains to climate change—has spiked rapidly. It has become a top-of-mind conversation for individuals and businesses alike. And for good reason, too. We’re facing a harsh reality when it comes to conservation and sustainability. Time is limited.
Luckily, there are things you can do right now to inspire your employees and take positive strides forward as a mission-led business. With an environment-forward CSR program, you can make local impact that directly benefits the lives of the people in your company.
Ready to get involved? Whether you’re looking to provide engagement opportunities for your employees or simply want to discover how your workplace can be more environmentally friendly, EarthShare is here to help. Learn more about our Employee Engagement Platform, and schedule a demo today!