By Kate Olsen
If you haven’t been paying attention, you might be surprised that your consumers and employees are the forces shaping your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy – or at least they should be.
Let’s explore why and how.
As I noted in an earlier post, employees are a company’s primary brand ambassadors and it’s vital for every company to have a strategy to keep its workforce motivated, productive and all about customer satisfaction. Every company must have an employee engagement plan that fits its unique culture, and reinforces the behaviors and attitudes essential to success.
How do you benchmark your employee engagement?
The Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study surveyed employees at 50 global companies on how their companies motivate, incent, reward and otherwise engage them in the workplace. The result was a new definition of employee engagement that promotes physical, emotional and social well-being.
And the results of investing in this new ‘sustainable engagement’ can be quite profound for the bottom line. Companies with the highest ‘sustainable engagement’ scores had an average one-year operating margin of 27% (vs. 14% for companies with traditional engagement).
But what signifies amazing employee engagement?
The Watson study defines ‘sustainable engagement’ as the intensity of employees’ connection to their organization, based on three core elements: commitment to achieving work goals (being engaged), an environment that supports productivity in multiple ways (being enabled), a work experience that promotes well-being (feeling energized).
As Tony Schwartz remarked in his post on the HBR blog, “For organizations, the challenge is to shift from their traditional focus on getting more out of people, to investing in meeting people's core needs so they're freed, fueled, and inspired to bring more of themselves to work, more sustainably.”
I would argue that social impact should be a hallmark component of any company’s employee engagement strategy.
70%+ of employees want to get involvedin their company’s cause-related efforts. (Cone Communications)
Being involved in cause programs allows employees to connect to their passions, feel like they’ve made a difference and put your company’s CSR values into action. All that goes a long way to keeping employees engaged and energized. Plus activities such as pro bono and skills-based service allow employees to leverage their skills in new ways, helping them feel enabled, too.