By Megan McGraw, HR Consultant at ELAR Horizons
Corporate Social Responsibility can be an important tool in boosting employee wellbeing. Research has shown that when employees have a positive view of their organization’s CSR efforts, performance improves, and they feel more engaged and connected to the organization’s core values, objectives and culture. When staff are actively involved in CSR initiatives, whether through the formation of policy, or their implementation, the act of helping others creates intrinsic rewards through a feeling of increased happiness and job satisfaction, which positively impacts wellbeing.
To effectively utilize CSR in promoting employee wellbeing, organizations should keep these points in mind:
Involve employees in strategic CSR planning:
Employees will identify and be engaged with, as well as feel more committed to CSR initiatives if they are involved in their strategic planning. Staff should be consulted on what CSR projects they would most like to pursue, and be part of ingraining a culture of CSR participation and support in the workplace. To accomplish this, a committee can be formed with representatives from different departments to hold discussions on what CSR initiatives are of interest and best represent the core values of the organization. CSR can also be integrated into staff engagement surveys, which will allow employees to give their opinions on initiatives directly. This increased involvement at a strategic level will resonate with staff and allow for increased employee voice.
Communication about CSR initiatives and opportunities:
CSR is not only beneficial for improving external reputation, but internal reputation as well, and organizations must ensure that they are communicating CSR strategy and opportunities successfully to staff. The organization’s CSR efforts should be celebrated in communications to employees regularly, and should emphasize the positive results, rather than a repetitive corporate agenda. Quotes from employees who were involved in the initiative and want to share their experience can be included, and may serve to promote future projects. Staff should also receive advanced notification of upcoming CSR initiatives to allow them the opportunity to volunteer or become involved. These communication strategies can aid in increasing awareness of CSR initiatives, in a way that is more organic and will increase employee motivation and engagement.
Offer development opportunities through CSR:
CSR can become part of an organization’s learning and development strategy, and offer employees opportunities for both personal and professional development. Involvement in CSR initiatives will give employees a chance to collaborate with teams outside of the workplace, and pursue areas of interest. Through CSR organizations can foster creativity, with staff discovering new approaches to problem solving and completing their work. Employees can undertake activities such as volunteering for projects with local nonprofits, guest lecturing at universities, and hosting or speaking at seminars. The skills learned through CSR can help enhance an employee’s professional profile as well as increase self-confidence, while inspiring development within their role.
Management should participate in CSR:
Management involvement is important in CSR, as having engaging managers who treat their direct reports as individuals, actively coach them, and set positive examples are important factors in promoting wellbeing. CSR is a unique opportunity for employees to interact with their managers, and has been found to create better relationships between team members, and foster a cooperative attitude towards the organization. Involvement in the planning as well as delivery of initiatives demonstrates that management is actively committed to CSR, and to collaborating with their employees. This can build a sense of satisfaction and trust in management, and encourage wider organizational engagement.