Employee Engagement ~ 7 min

How CSR Can Improve Employee Engagement and Motivation

HR Team, People Experts, Sociabble
HR Team People Experts

Employee engagement  and motivation are factors that companies are constantly trying to improve. However, they often overlook one of the best ways of doing this: CSR initiatives. Corporate social responsibility is good for the world, AND an effective way to get workers motivated and engaged.

Employee engagement and motivation levels are important indicators of a company’s effectiveness. Simply put, companies with workers who are engaged with company and industry news, who are motivated to do their job well and contribute toward the positive trajectory of the company, tend to be those that perform well in the competitive landscape.

But what’s the best way to get employees excited about what’s going on, and interacting with company news? Well, one of the most effective strategies we’ve found is through CSR initiatives. By helping causes that are relevant and beneficial to society, employees become directly involved, and help make the world a better place.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is fundamentally a two-way street. It’s a mutual commitment between the organization and its employees, a mutual sharing of information and interaction. It means that employees read company and industry news, share it, and respond to it. It means that they’re aware of what’s happening at their company and within their sector, and that their company in turn listens to their thoughts and addresses their concerns. Think of it like an ongoing conversation, between employer and employee.

The Pillars of Employee Engagement

There are basic pillars that make employee engagement and motivation possible, and allow them to continue for the long-term, at every level of business. These are common features of almost all companies that have engaged employees, no matter the industry or sector. They include:

People need to be properly informed.

They need to be given a steady stream of relevant information about their company and their industry, to have the knowledge they need to succeed in their role.

The values and vision of the company must be clear.

You need photos, inspiring videos. Not only top-down videos designed by an agency, but more user-generated videos, showing how the vision is implemented in the field. They are the most inspiring ones.

People need to understand what these values and this vision means for them.

Must be co-created, the company must provide the conditions so that people can find a meaning that is aligned with their personal values and their priorities. It makes a big difference.

People must be listened to.

Getting feedback at every level of the company, for the topics that matter.

People want to a work for a company that makes the world a better place.

CSR activities are great, but employees often feel disconnected from these activities, they don’t speak to them because they’re not concrete. CSR governance must be redesigned so that the company invests locally in projects that make sense for employees.

The Health Crisis Has Made CSR a Priority

Companies have long engaged in corporate social responsibility, with the causes championed often aligning with the challenges a company faces.

For example, a company that has an impact on the environment might want to focus on that area for outreach. But with the increase in remote work that has come with the Covid-19 crisis, many employees are feeling disconnected and misaligned with the company’s larger purpose. They want to feel like they’re part of a larger force for positive change in the world.

81% of companies anticipate a rise in employee activism in the near future, and 46% view CSR activities centered around environmental issues and climate change as a priority.

In short, employees want to be involved, and they want to be part of companies that are champions of causes that make the world a better place.

employee engagement and motivation

Why Many CSR Initiatives Don’t Work

Despite their best intentions, companies often find that CSR programs just never really get off the ground. Engagement is low, involvement is less than desired. Employees just don’t get into it the way management hoped.

Here are a few reasons why this happens:

CSR initiatives are disconnected from employees’ reality.

Investments are often made at the global level, meaning they don’t feel locally relevant, and employees don’t feel like they have a say in the causes that are chosen.

CSR teams are stretched thin.

There isn’t always a dedicated team, and if there is, they often don’t have time to commit fully to the project.

CSR investments lack transparency.

Employees don’t actually know how their work and contributions are being used, or how they’re being spent.

Difficulties generating engagement.

It’s simply too hard to get employees involved and engaged with the program, it’s too difficult to hold their attention and get them to care.

How CSR and Employee Engagement Can Connect and Improve Employee Motivation

There are, however, ways to have a successful CSR program and boost engagement, both at the same time. These steps can truly make a difference in how employees view the initiative, and how involved with it they decide to be. If they’re done correctly, you’ll see how employee engagement and CSR can go together hand-in-hand.

Pay attention to sourcing and governance.

Employees should submit ideas for CSR projects, with a decentralized sourcing and selection process. By being involved in the choice of CSR initiative, employees can choose topics that are more relevant, and thus be more involved.

Make the initiatives local.

Address local issues faced by different communities, with tailored audiences. By selecting projects on a local basis, you’ll be sure to get more passionate engagement.

Involve employees in decision making.

Allow employees to choose their favorite projects in a transparent voting system, so that they feel the selection is fair and that they have a voice in the decision.

Communicate the program and its goals.

Make sure the CSR initiatives get the best internal exposure; clearly explain the cause, your goals, the KPIs, and the desired result. Sociabble, for example, has a built-in CSR module called “Support My Cause,” which is designed to get employees involved, through selection, voting, and leaderboards.

Improve employee engagement
Sociabble’s “Support My Cause” empowers employees to propose CSR programs that are relevant to them.

Gamify and reward engagement.

This means recognizing the efforts of employees and giving meaningful rewards to add incentives.

Sociabble Trees is a program that rewards employee engagement with actual trees planted in the employee’s name, in reforestation projects around the world.

Tata Realty was able to achive great success with the Sociabble Trees program, planting over 600 trees in just a four-week period and boosting employee engagement at the same time.

Sociabble Can Help Your Company Boost Engagement and Launch a Successful CSR Initiative

If you’re looking for a platform that can help you increase engagement and launch an effective CSR program, both at the same time, Sociabble can help.

We’ve already partnered with hundreds of companies in over 80 countries around the world to boost employee communication and engagement, including industry leaders like Infosys, Generali, and Coca-Cola European Partners, to name a few.

We’re always happy to chat about employee engagement and motivation, as well as share tips on running an effective CSR initiative, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

If you’d like to learn more, click here for a free demo.

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