Greg Hallett, managing director of Give as you Live, reveals how companies can implement CSR initiatives and reap significant rewards
The traditional notion of supporting charities in the workplace through cake sales and marathons is evolving. There are now a number of complementary ways to raise donations at no extra cost or time to businesses. And, most importantly, they are having a positive effect on employee relations as well as society.
If a company has a positive impact on society by implementing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, it creates a fulfilling workplace for employees and strengthens the relationship between the company and its workers. Research in October 2015 from Give as you Live found that companies could be doing much more to support charities. Half of workers (48%) said they didn’t know how much their company had donated to charity in the past year and disappointingly 51% hadn’t taken part in company charity fundraising in the past year.
CSR initiatives have been proven to have a positive influence on employee motivation. They contribute to the ease of hiring quality staff and promoting employee commitment and teamwork, all of which leads to increased innovation and productivity.
Employees across all industries want to be more charitable in the workplace, although some more than others. When asked if they would stay at a company longer if it supported charities and local communities, 76% of people working in the environment and agriculture sector said yes. They were followed by 70% of energy and utility employees and, out of the 11 industries surveyed, lawyers were found to be the fourth most loyal to charitable companies.
CSR is an important business model involving employees participating in initiatives, often going the extra mile to give something back to charities and the local community. When asked about CSR in the workplace, Richard Branson founder of Virgin Group commented: “I think the model for starting employee engagement activities has to be embedded in everything you do. My next challenge through Unite is to work with businesses outside of the Virgin Group, to look at how they can be a force for good. What I see is demand from our people to be a business that is good, makes a profit but also does something for the planet and humanity. I think this is a trend we will see more of.”
The digital age means that charitable initiatives don’t have to add pressure to people’s time. On the contrary they can actually help increase employee commitment and morale. That’s why businesses today should implement a CSR strategy, benefitting from initiatives that enhance and promote employee attitudes, behaviours and productivity in the workplace.
Companies can easily implement CSR strategies that fit within their workplace and employees’ job roles, helping to enforce charitable efforts as a business. The best advice for businesses to start reaping CSR benefits is to roll out two or three schemes that give employees different options to support charities. You can easily begin by implementing some of the free schemes below:
Use green energy
The majority of companies have computers running all day and with electrical devices like this being used continuously, employees often wonder what difference using them less can make. Your company could easily switch to green energy in the workplace. Ecotricity provides this green energy to help fight climate change, which is paramount for companies that often use a vast amount of energy.
Out with the old and in with the new?
Having an office clear-out? Why not sell items on eBay, diverting all or a percentage of the profits to a charity? As an eBay seller, an individual or business can opt to donate a percentage from any sale to a charity as well as add Gift Aid to the donation.
Don’t forget to microvolunteer on April 15
Microvolunteering Day takes place on April 15 every year and businesses can also host their own microvolunteer event. For example, companies could ask workers to use the spare moments during lunch breaks to complete a volunteering task such as writing a letter or email to a sick child. Employees can contribute as little or as much as they like towards these tasks.
Recycle and donate
Give as you Live research suggests that over a fifth of employees are unsure if their company supports charity at all. Make it certain by recycling office printer cartridges through recycle4charity. All you have to do is register through the website and choose a charity; recycling bags will then be sent through the post for you to send back all those empty ink cartridges. Each time this happens a £1 donation goes straight to the chosen charity.
Shop and donate
Let every penny spent online give something back. Encourage employees to shop online at a charitable shopping site and raise free donations for your charity from both office and personal shopping purchases. These sites are free to use as all donations are generated from commission paid by the retailer – so it won’t cost shoppers or businesses a penny extra.
Implementing just one CSR strategy in 2016 can make a huge difference to employee motivation and productivity. CSR in the workplace is vital and, by carrying out some of these simple activities, employers will be encouraged to give back to charity and help raise those much needed donations that will make a big impact over time.
This article comes courtesy of Give as you Live, the fundraising hub for charities.