Corporate Social Responsibility Should Be a Part of Your Employee Engagement Strategy

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As a blogger in the HR and recruiting space, I’ve seen a lot of employee engagement solutions – but I haven’t seen anything else quite like BlackBaud’s AngelPoints, which tackles employee engagement from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) angle.

How It Works

AngelPoints offers two platforms inside of the overall software: AngelPoints Volunteering and AngelPoints Giving. As the names suggest, Volunteering connects employees with volunteering opportunities, and Giving connects employees with donation opportunities.

According to Andrew Troup, senior product manager at Blackbaud, each client that uses AngelPoints gets a totally customizable and brandable portal, which employees can log into through the AngelPoints site.

“At BlackBaud, we use the solution ourselves,” Troup says. “It’s branded as the BlackBaud Cares program. So it has that branding, and employees know they are participating in our program.”

This branding allows companies to align their CSR efforts with the company’s overall values and employee engagement efforts.

“You can align your CSR with your overall business strategy,” Troup says. “It is ingrained in the culture of the organization.”

Once they’ve logged into the platform, employees see a dashboard that shows them volunteering and donation opportunities. Companies can highlight specific opportunities so that they show up on employee dashboards, and employees can also customize their feeds according to the locations of volunteering opportunities, the causes they care about, and the skills they want to utilize when volunteering. Employees have the ability to participate in both company-sponsored and independent volunteering and giving programs through the platform.

LensThe employee dashboard also presents data about the company’s overall volunteering and giving goals and the individual employee’s goals. That way, employees know how well they and their organizations are doing in their shared CSR efforts.

Aligning Corporate Social Responsibility With Broader Business Strategies

I, personally, have never seen another employee engagement solution focused on CSR, but it’s a match that makes perfect sense.

We know how much today’s consumers, especially millennials, care about CSR. Sixty-six percent of consumers around the world – and 73 percent of millennial consumers – say they will pay extra for products and services from sustainable brands.

But the benefits of CSR don’t stop at the consumer level: CSR is also great for recruiting, retention, and engagement efforts. Research from Net Impact  found that 53 percent of workers – and 72 percent of millennials who are entering the workforce for the first time – say they want “a job where I can make an impact.” Many workers even said they’d take a pay cut in exchange for a fulfilling and rewarding job that makes a difference.

A solution like AngelPoints allows organizations to offer impactful work to employees and candidates – and it allows organizations to ensure their CSR programs are integrated into the operations of the business overall.

“Employers today are looking to be much more strategic about what they’re doing with their employee volunteering and giving programs,” Troup says. “They’re looking to really align their efforts in their volunteering and engagement programs with what they’re doing in other areas. Many corporations are already doing some great grantmaking and sponsorship, and they want to tie that together with what they are doing from an employee volunteering and engagement perspective as well.”

But it’s not just about aligning individual employee opportunities with the company’s other CSR programs. It’s also about aligning these opportunities with the company’s mission, vision, values, and business strategy.

“When a corporation is building out its CSR strategy, what it is looking at is that entire picture,” Troup explains. “So we don’t just offer isolated employee engagement programs in volunteering and giving that are nice opportunities for employees to volunteer with their favorite charities or local soup kitchens, but instead are being much more strategic with these programs. Corporations can set out strategies for the entire CSR program so that it aligns with who you are as a corporation and where you stand.”

For example, Troup says, consider a hypothetical tech company. This company, like many others, wants to focus its CSR efforts on issues that it cares about. So maybe this tech company decides to focus on STEM education initiatives.

TreesTo implement a comprehensive CSR strategy, this tech company decides that all of its grantmaking efforts will go to people and organizations working in STEM education. It also decides to regularly highlight employee volunteering and giving opportunities that involve STEM education. In this way, the tech company builds an overall CSR strategy that supports its values and follows its mission.

“It’s about creating that throughline between all your CSR and employee engagement efforts,” Troup says.

That throughline is how an organization builds a CSR brand, and that brand is invaluable when it comes to attract and retaining customers and employees alike.

By Matthew Kosinski