The 4 best CSR activities to increase employee engagement in the workplace
You may have never thought about or heard of “corporate social responsibility ideas for companies” before. However, creating and implementing corporate responsibility initiatives in the workplace can help you increase consumer and employee engagement.
Many of the nation’s largest companies, like Google and Starbucks, are at the forefront of workplace corporate social responsibility (CSR). Whether through environmentally friendly practices, charitable giving, or workplace volunteer programs, these organizations look to impact the world around them.
But CSR isn’t something that only large corporations can do. No matter its size, any company can come up with unique CSR activity ideas that impact others.
Are you interested in learning about some of the best CSR activities to implement in your workplace?
In this article, we’ll share how to promote corporate social responsibility in your company. You’ll read about suggestions for improved CSR in your workplace and some fun CSR activities for employees.
Keep reading to learn what CSR is and why it’s a valuable investment for your organization!
What is corporate social responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the idea that companies should invest positively in their workforce, community, and world. These investments could be any number or combination of:
Some general examples of social responsibility in the workplace include:
- Charitable giving
- Environmental policies and consciousness
- Sustainability practices
- Volunteer opportunities
- Workplace labor policies
The ultimate goal of CSR is to find an issue or cause that you and your employees are passionate about and excited to invest in.
Why invest in corporate responsibility initiatives?
Investing in CSR initiatives may seem like a waste of time and money.
However, the opposite is true—implementing social responsibility ideas can positively impact your bottom line and the community.
CSR’s impact on your bottom line
Workplace corporate social responsibility initiatives can benefit your bottom line in two ways:
1. Engages employees
First, by implementing CSR ideas for business into your workplace, you’re engaging your employees—and engaging your employees makes them more productive and keeps them around longer.
Engaging employees is especially important right now as employee turnover and attrition are at all-time highs. A 2020 study by the Workforce Institute reports that 52% of US employees are looking for a new job. They also report that the business cost of turnover is 30% of median income—roughly $15K per employee!
An investment in CSR shows your employees that you care and think about issues outside of business. It can also help your employees see how the business fits into the community and impacts the world around them.
It can be especially beneficial to survey or poll your employees to find out issues and causes they’re passionate about. When you make CSR personal to your employees, you’ll get greater buy-in, and your employees will feel more connected to the workplace (keeping them investing and sticking around longer!).
2. Engages customers
Second, CSR helps you engage with customers and consumers.
According to a 2015 survey by NielsenIQ, more than 50% of consumers and clients will pay more for a product from a company that prioritizes sustainability (a top CSR initiative). This statistic shows that consumers and customers are looking to purchase from and partner with companies that promote CSR.
In addition, companies that walk the CSR walk (and not just talk the talk) create a sense of authenticity with their consumers. A 2020 study shows that the more explicitly a company implements CSR, the more significantly it impacts their brand attitude and recognition of authenticity.
CSR initiatives are an excellent way to engage with your employees and make a good impression with potential customers and clients.
CSR’s impact on the community
Workplace corporate social responsibility also provides a way to impact and influence your local community and the world positively.
When your organization looks to cut carbon emissions, you’re placing a high value on the environment. Reducing carbon emissions leads to cleaner air which benefits current and future generations.
Maybe employees are passionate about caring for American veterans. You could give charitable donations to an organization that helps these individuals. Or, find a way to meet real needs for veterans in your community and set up times to meet those needs.
Regardless of the initiatives you choose, it’s important that you get employees involved and connected with local or global opportunities.
Now that you know what CSR is and why it’s valuable, let’s look at some of the best CSR activities to promote corporate social responsibility in your workplace.
The top 4 corporate social responsibility ideas for companies
One of the best CSR activities for employees is providing time or opportunities for volunteering.
Workplace volunteering opportunities have significant benefits for you and the local community. 71% of employees say that volunteering through work makes them feel better about their employer. Another 92% of people say workplace volunteering helps them develop people and teamwork skills (two critical skills in a workplace!).
Additionally, volunteering provides you and your employees the opportunity to:
- Engage with the local community
- Show your community that you care
- Build trust with your community
Some examples of volunteering include:
- Working at a local food pantry
- Cleaning up a local park
- Getting involved in an Alzheimer’s Walk
Some companies provide two paid days (or more) off every year for employees to volunteer. Others have a few company-wide volunteer opportunities each year. Find what works for you and your organization, and start engaging with the community.
2. Environmental practices
Environmental and sustainability practices are a hot topic in our world today. So, it’s no wonder many companies want to know how to promote corporate social responsibility through these practices.
Some suggestions for improving CSR in regards to the environment and sustainability include:
- Investing in and using renewable energy sources
- Promoting recycling and composting at the office
- Encouraging “walk or ride your bike to work days”
You could also create a custom online employee training program that helps employees better understand the intersection between their role and sustainability.
And while we’re on the subject of online programs, transitioning in-person programs to virtual reduces environmental footprint (and business expenses!). Online learning cuts energy consumption and CO2 emissions by reducing:
- Transportation costs
- Energy used at in-person facilities
- Paper use and distribution
Implementing a few small changes to your work environment can make a big difference in the world.
3. Charitable giving
Charitable giving is another way to introduce workplace corporate social responsibility to your employees. It’s also a way to make a positive impact without the need to sacrifice time or other resources.
Many companies will match employee donations to promote employee giving. According to Double the Donation’s statistics, 84% of individuals say they’re more likely to give if they know a matching gift is offered.
Find one (or a few!) non-profits or causes you’re passionate about and start encouraging your employees to invest monetarily. Without putting in extra time, you and your employees can make a real difference simply through the power of the dollar. There are even ways to set up automatic payroll contributions to make giving easier.
4. Workplace policies
CSR doesn’t simply mean looking to make an impact in people’s lives outside of your organization. You can also put CSR into practice within your company.
Enacting new workplace labor policies is a way to show social responsibility to your employees—creating ways to strengthen and broaden their rights so that they feel valued and cared for.[CSR]
CSR workplace policies could include:
- Stipends for healthy living
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives
- Time off for special, religious festivities
- Extended parental leave
Your employees are your most valuable resource, and better policies can improve their quality of life in and out of the office. By creating new office policies that benefit general wellbeing, you’re building a company culture that employees can get behind.
Start prioritizing workplace corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) involves companies of all shapes and sizes using their time, talent, and resources to influence their employees, communities, and world positively.
Instead of wasting time and money, corporate responsibility initiatives impact a company’s bottom line by engaging employees and consumers. Additionally, CSR activities for employees help the company build trust and relationships with local communities.
Four of the simplest corporate social responsibility ideas for companies to incorporate are:
- Volunteering efforts and opportunities
- Implementing environmental and sustainability practices
- Investing in charitable giving
- Enacting new workplace policies
But starting CSR initiatives from scratch and getting employees on board can be challenging. You can have some great ideas, but if employees don’t understand the value of CSR and how to do it, you might not have great success.
To get CSR going in your workplace, you may need to start with a company-wide training on the value, benefits, and “how-tos” of corporate social responsibility.
At Unboxed Training & Technology, we Think Outside™ the box to provide organizations with custom training solutions. And if you want to make CSR a part of your company culture, a great starting point is educating your employees on its importance. We can help you take the complexity of CSR and find a simple, creative solution that engages your employees.
Our consulting team is ready to help you jumpstart CSR training in your workplace today.
Are you ready to get to work—together?
Connect with us and see how Unboxed Strategic Consulting Services can help you succeed.