Over the last few years, businesses implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs have risen and the reasons can vary to include consumer pressure if you are a small business to increasing employee recruitment and retention goals. The pandemic impacted CSR programs since companies closed offices to allow employees to work from home, so the opportunity for in-person team building and employee engagement opportunities came to a halt. Businesses are returning to in-person environments. However, an increased number of companies are allowing for hybrid work schedules or have shifted to a 100% work-from-home model to lower overhead costs or to support their employees facing childcare challenges. The decline in CSR diminishes the ability for employees to build rapport with coworkers and the community and has had a larger impact on nonprofits – corporate volunteer counts are down; corporate donations could be lower and client services are impacted.
So, how do companies kick start employee engagement for the future? Consider the following ideas to reinvent your CSR programs:
Start fresh by answering the question “is it a priority”? If so, why? Are you engaging because it is at the core of your company or organization’s mission and values? Is it due to pressure from your consumers? Determine the “why” and allow it to guide you in reinventing your program.
Did you know that CSR increases brand awareness and sets you apart from your business sector or industry?
If your organization does not have one person who’s leading CSR initiatives and projects, consider forming a committee comprised of employees from different areas of your business to ensure all voices within the organization are part of the effort to lead the initiative.
What issues are important to you and your organization? Polling employees around their passions is a wonderful way to start developing fun community engagement projects for your team. Do you want your projects to be transactional or transformative? Consider projects that are transformative and have a longer impact allowing relationships with a community to become stronger and sustainable.
Implement radical flexibility with the type of volunteer opportunities, offering in-person or virtual opportunities for employees to support. Offer skill-based volunteer opportunities for employees. This allows them to use their professional skills to support nonprofits – web design, social media, accounting, or finance skills as examples.
Since 1974, Volunteer Houston has worked with groups and companies to develop, implement, and manage volunteer projects that align with an organization’s CSR goal. We offer a variety of themed or custom kit assembly ideas designed to meet the needs of nonprofit clients as well as fully customized projects that can be in-person, virtual, or both! Our goal is to aid our new and existing clients in strengthening their Corporate Social Responsibility goals and culture among employees to instill a sense of lifelong service beyond the project.
Gayla Wilson is the Volunteer Houston Program Manager. Besides being a lifelong volunteer inspired by her mother who instilled the need to give back, she is a wife, sister, and lover of all things food, both consumption and preparation and loves live music, gardening, travel, and the great outdoors. LinkedIn