A guest blog by Rachel McElroy, Chief Communication and Engagement Officer at Solutionize Global
The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a powerful spotlight on the basic human need for connection. Our lives’ regular patterns have been erased and replaced with limited interactions and the search for new familiarity in our routines.
Separating the very real health and socio-economic implications, these types of events impact our sense of purpose and put a strain on all of our relationships due to our heightened emotional state when we are faced with uncertainty. The organisations that have fared particularly well through these difficult times have adapted quickly and led with conviction. Strong teams and strong company culture underpin this ability to be agile and decisive.
I believe that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has a considerable part to play in our economic and mental recovery from the events of the pandemic and present an ideal opportunity to build a better world. CSR and a common purpose also have a critical knock-on effect in supporting a healthy workplace culture and driving business growth. This is why:
It is a considerable time for many employees since they set foot in their offices, made a coffee with a colleague, and chatted on the way to a meeting room. Organisations have onboarded new staff remotely who have never set foot in their HQs or met their fellow workmates in person.
We are reliant on old ties and memories for many established relationships that we took for granted.
Working with a charity partner allows teams to plan, be creative and achieve as a collective outside of their usual working practices and team members.
The camaraderie of a shared goal, to benefit others, creates those water-cooler moments where we learn more about those we work with, our shared values and how we can work together.
CSR actively promotes teamwork and encourages employees to think outside the box and look at the bigger picture around them. We have lived through a time of short-term thinking and a lack of long-term planning. CSR starts to plug this gap and encourage us to look forward, which cascades into all areas of working life as a positive force.
The mental health impact of recent events is barely visible, from the long-term home-schooling to mapping out what life will look like as restrictions lift, and how we will feel about the changes ahead. Being aligned to help others in highly emotional and challenging situations taps into our natural empathy as human beings.
We are naturally tribal creatures, and assisting others helps develop our humility, empathy, and integrity. These are all essential leadership skills to develop, so CSR and charity initiatives offer professional development opportunities which can only benefit your business.
Giving to charity and supporting the sector promotes happiness. Employees who have a chance to give to charities through their work are happier than those who do not, according to Harvard Business School.
Motivated, focused and happy team members engaged in common goals are proven to impact organisational growth.
CSR initiatives done properly help forge stronger organisational ties and promote creative thinking, alongside a little healthy competition in a workforce.
A Forbes article in 2019 cited highly engaged teams showing 21% greater profitability, a significant increase on a business bottom line. Added to this 71% of managers feel that employee engagement is one of the most important factors in overall company success. (Social Chorus 2019).
Building a strong business brand is critical for success, especially in the “always-on” world we live in. A wealth of information on companies is available within seconds, clearly outlining your digital footprint and informing potential customers or new starters what makes you tick.
CSR activities promote transparency, ethics, humility, and trust and make a statement to the world that you are an organisation that takes responsibility seriously.
Make no mistake, aspirational brands are on the rise; a Globescan & BBMG survey found that 40% of consumers seek purposeful brands and trust in brands to act in the best interest of society.
A substantial commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility really does deliver outcomes that benefit organisational and team growth – from wellbeing to the bottom line.
Find a cause that you and your employees believe in and take the plunge to partner with a charity that shares your values. It will reap the rewards.