In our most recent G+ hangout, Mastering the Methods, Metrics, and Madness of CSR, we spoke with Jason Burns, the CEO of Profits4Purpose, and Joe Sibilia, CEO of CSRwire, about how to engage and activate both your internal and external stakeholders around your CSR initiatives. If you missed the live hangout, here is both the reply and a short summary of the key takeaways from this great panel:
*Please note, there were broadcast interruptions but you can fast forward through any dead-air on this replay.
To inspire employees, your CSR efforts must align with company values. When there is an authentic alignment of passion, your employees and customers will help build your social impact with you. For example, Jason told us about how Staples did a survey and found out that their employees did not have any idea of their community and social impact initiatives and in turn, no buy-in or connection. So Profits4Purpose helped to build a new program where employees can go in and detail what they are doing and share volunteer and leadership stories. Staples then used this data to understand which causes resonate most with their teams and this serves as a guide as to which areas they, as a company community, can make the biggest impact.
What gets rewarded and recognized, gets done. Just as building a self-sustaining customer community requires an ongoing cycle of engagement and rewards, you must develop a very clear employee recognition and rewards program to achieve CSR success. Work with your marketing team to highlight employees who are living out the vision and answering the call to service, because their recognition and tangible impact will inspire others to join the cause. Millennials are especially cause and purpose-driven, so leverage their willingness to share their stories of impact across social and video, and they can help drive engagement right on up to company leadership.
You must make a solid business case for your cause. Instead of approaching leadership with just your cause in mind, you must explain how working on it will help the company. This is not to say that the cause, whether it be access to clean water, cancer research or childhood education, does not carry a compelling moral imperative that is reason enough for the company to get involved. It simply fails to recognize that their audience – time-poor, overloaded and busy corporate partners – respond far better to a solution to an existing problem than the addition of a new one. So as Joe suggests, there’s now tons of great data and case studies out there, so dig into it and make the connection between good corporate citizenship and increased shareholder value, or how voluntarily disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions will actually be rewarded by the investment community, or how you will attract and keep better employees. This is language all leadership can understand and by tying your CSR efforts back to key business drivers, you will position your cause as a benefit rather than a burden.
We are all different voices in this choir of change who need to show all the proof to leadership and our peers that these efforts are good for business as well as the world at large.
CSRwire is a digital media platform and the leading global source of CSR & sustainability news that has paved the way for new standards of corporate citizenship, earning the international respect of thought leaders, business leaders, academics, philanthropists, activists and the media community. www.CSRwire.com
Profits4Purpose provides web-based tools that streamline the administrative and reporting aspects of CSR programs to empower companies to effectively engage their employees in achieving a positive impact in the community like never before.
Reading Time: 1 minutesSimon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.