Engaging employees in Corporate Social Responsibility is good for business

Brittin Haury LaMar

Writing about Corporate Social Responsibility, employee engagement, large-scale fundraising and Philanthropy Cloud (and sometimes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not a new concept. But over the last decade, it’s become more buzzworthy as companies realize the positive impact a CSR strategy can have – including keeping employees engaged and customers loyal to their brand. A successful CSR strategy encompasses all parts of a company’s business – sales, public relations, marketing, diversity and inclusion, human resources, and so on. Research shows that a CSR strategy, when done well, can boost your business. And that employees play a key role.


Here are three reasons why engaging your employees in your CSR strategy is good for business.


Attract and retain top talent.

We know employees have a lot of choices when it comes to where they can work. To stand out and retain top talent, employees need more than just meaningful work to stay; they need to believe in what the company is doing and feel like their company values their contributions – both inside and outside of the office. A recent study by Cone reported that 79% of employees say they’d be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social issues.


When an employee knows the company they work for cares about the community and supports their personal efforts to give back, that’s a great feeling.


William Browning, chief strategy and transformation officer at United Way Worldwide, says that motivating employees to drive change is “an effective recruiting tool and plays a role in developing and retaining workers.” And tools like Philanthropy Cloud, an innovative platform that combines giving, storytelling and volunteering in one location, are helping companies keep workers engaged. For example, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corp. had a 4% participation increase after introducing Philanthropy Cloud to its employees.


Create company advocates with engaged employees.

Giving employees opportunities to participate in events and programs that align with your mission shows that your company is purpose-driven. And when employees see your mission in action, reports show they will share it with others.


For example, I’m most excited to share what United Way supports when it is tied to causes I care about, like youth development. This helps me feel connected to my company, and I want to engage with the volunteer opportunities they provide, like putting together a Back-to-School kit that will help children go to school feeling prepared and confident.


Providing volunteer opportunities, like Back-to-School Kits, that align with your CSR strategy gives employees a concrete understanding of what your company cares about. For instance, MiTek is a supplier of software, services, engineered products, and automated solutions for the global building industry. Throughout the world, MiTek team members are connecting with local organizations that tie into MiTek’s CSR focus area of “Educate to Innovate.” MiTek elevates its employees’ passions by encouraging team members to get involved in the creative and innovative space in their local communities.


Advocates help build trust in the community.

The 2018 Cone study found that having strong values and showing these values through community involvement was important to building trust in the community. People are more likely to buy from and do business with companies they trust, and who better to help your company earn trust than your employees.


When I see a friend share something their company is doing, and my friend is excited about it, I think more highly of the company. Why? Because employees see firsthand what the company is really about and how they got involved in the community.


Show the community you care by allowing your employees to get involved. Promote supply drives, seek donations to a good cause, and support your employees’ volunteer efforts. When people see your employees doing good work while representing your company, they begin to think of your company and your employees as trusted resources. More than three-quarters of Americans feel more connected to a brand that works with purpose, according to the Cone study.


By engaging your employees with your CSR strategy, your company will see its trust and presence in the community grow over time.


Written by: Brittin Haury LaMar

Brittin is the director of online giving at United Way of Greater St. Louis. With over 10 years of experience, she helps companies create robust, year-round employee engagement opportunities through an innovative giving platform, Philanthropy Cloud.

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