There’s really nothing like getting together face-to-face with people who share our belief in business being a force for good! Last Wednesday, Bohlsen Group, along with Pedrotti Hays Inc., hosted our second Power Play workshop on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Focusing on how to uncover tools to enhance company culture and highlight impact, the panelists included Noel Paul (Global Leader, Corporate Responsibility with Elanco), Carly Swift and Mandy Selke (Co-founders of Just Pop In!), and our own Vicki Bohlsen.
It’s easy to walk out of events like Power Plays with your head spinning, pages of feverishly-scribbled notes and a calendar full of coffee conversations to come. With so much insight and recommendations from the panel discussion, that was certainly the case this week.
We boiled down the two hours of conversations and years of experience in the room into 10 tips for incorporating CSR into your workplace. No matter if you’re a start-up working out of your partner’s kitchen or part of a large corporation engaging thousands of employees across the globe, these 10 actionable tips apply.
Get leadership buy-in
Make sure the executive management team is on board, understands the goals and is willing to incorporate CSR into the framework of your organization’s operating structure.
Audit current operations
Certainly your organization is already doing many things CSR-related that you can build upon and institutionalize. Take the time to assess your current approach and identify what practices you can expand on or develop.
Realize the variety of CSR
There are many components to CSR – sustainability, employee engagement, monitoring and evaluation, community investment, partnerships and reporting. Not every company excels in all areas, and that is okay.
Tie CSR to outcomes
Understand how each CSR initiative ties to your organization’s goals and objectives – marketing and PR, HR, outreach, branding and lead generation. Doing so will force you to be mindful about formalizing your CSR program.
Listen to employees, clients and vendors
Tie your organization’s CSR program to what interests and motivates your people and connections. You can do this by listening in meetings, conducting a survey or organizing an internal brainstorm.
Set achievable goals
If you set goals that are easily met, your organization will stay on track and be motivated to reevaluate them often. Approach CSR like you’re training for a marathon – slow and steady wins the race.
Make CSR enjoyable
If you listen to what your organization’s stakeholders care about, you know you’ll get buy-in and participation. Consider creating an awards program to motivate in an ongoing manner.
Tell your story
Caring about CSR makes for some great storytelling, and your organization should absolutely fold all initiatives into its marketing plan to share the initiatives and results across all divisions and company efforts.
Embrace social media
Amplify what you are doing across social media platforms. Use social media to support others that are highlighting and pursuing the benefits of CSR and get ideas on how to improve.
Put into place a program to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate your company’s CSR program. Doing so will help you sell the program to upper management, excite employees and show you where to make improvements.
The workshop left us all even more inspired and committed to making CSR part of the culture and fabric of our companies. We’ve loved seeing how the series of Power Plays has come together and can’t wait to share the next topic: Using your CSR Story to Create Advocates, Brand Champions and Rabid Fans. On August 18, come learn how to leverage all of your assets – clients, employees and stakeholders – to bring your message to life through words and deeds.