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As businesses continue to evolve it is crucial that we empower our teams to contribute meaningfully to the communities they work within.
By creating a culture of giving, and facilitating opportunities for involvement, we can foster a sense of purpose and fulfilment among our employees. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and charity work is an avenue for businesses to contribute to social, economic and environmental causes.
However we must acknowledge that many employees face barriers when it comes to engaging in these activities, whether that’s not having the time to participate in volunteering opportunities or not having the confidence to do a sponsored activity like a run. Therefore, it is important (and fun) to think about ways that you can engage your colleagues and find ways they can get involved.
At Sellick Partnership, our CSR initiatives stem naturally from our core values. We are passionate about how our business can make a real, positive difference to those around us and actively support several charities, locally and nationally.
Here, I have provided practical insights on how organisations can promote CSR as well as make it more accessible to those within the business.
People are busy and life is often hectic; creating opportunities and making them a realistic option for employees will build a positive workplace culture. To make CSR accessible it is crucial to create opportunities that your workforce want to get involved with; aligning initiatives with employee interests is the key!
To do this you need to first speak to employees and find out their passions; playing to the strengths of your team/s will go a long way. Do you have a team of running enthusiasts? Do you have a team of foodies? Pub quiz aficionados? Or a mixture?
I would suggest speaking to your team, whether this is 1-2-1 or in a team meeting, with the aim of really getting to know what people are comfortable doing, they may also have some great ideas to inspire you!
At Sellick Partnership we have a team of Charity Champions who really do advocate everything charity-related. They are responsible for choosing our companywide and regional charities, organising fundraising activities, promoting our initiatives across the business and being that go to person in each of our offices for all things relating to charity work.
We understand that while people might want to participate, they may not have the time to organise the initiatives themselves, and so having this group of Charity Champions is fundamental to making these events a success.
Internal communication is so important, I really cannot stress that enough; sharing regular information about projects, goals and outcomes will really help to build the knowledge around what your business is doing and will help enormously with engagement!
Our Charity Champions take control of any communication relating to CSR events, and we also send out a quarterly newsletter to the business, informing everyone of what we have done, how much has been raised, and where the funds or collections will be going.
Give the background information of why you’re doing what you’re doing! If you’re holding an event for charity, let your colleagues know why you’re supporting that charity, how it’s going to make a difference and answer any questions they may have!
For example, this year we are supporting Wood Street Mission and in March, we held a bake sale, using the money raised to buy over 30 books that were donated to their ‘Books Forever’ Appeal. These are books that go to children whose families are struggling to make ends meet, in Manchester and Salford. Prior to donating we brought the books into the office so that colleagues could see where the proceeds from their cupcakes and sausage rolls had gone!
However, we recognise not everyone wants to play football or cricket, so we hold regular bake sales and organise collections of Christmas gifts, back to school stationery and Easter eggs for people to get involved with instead!
We also give employees the opportunity to take one day off a year to get involved with voluntary work such as helping in soup kitchens or holding employability workshops. My advice with this is be organised and flexible! Everyone has different commitments and schedules; allowing staff to get involved in CSR during working hours and planning events far in advance really helps!
All of this means that, hopefully, throughout the year everyone has a chance to contribute, should they wish to.
Firstly, do some research in your local area. There’s so much information online, and you’d be surprised how many charities are just around the corner. Make a gentle approach and figure out how your business can support as well as where your interests are aligned.
You might not be able to get involved in everything and that is absolutely fine. Even if it’s a one off, the charities are always extremely grateful for any help they can get.
Consider forming a CSR committee, think about the people that might be interested or best placed. This needs to be a group of passionate, engaged, pro-active people who are really invested in giving their time to make a difference.
If you want to take it one step further, you could consider forming a corporate partnership. This is similar to what we have implemented with Wood Street Mission in Manchester and me&dee in Derby, as well as the sporting tournaments we hold raising funds for St Ann’s Hospice, Lord’s Taverners and If U Care Share.
For initiatives and activities, think outside of the box; there are brilliant things you can do, but be mindful of doing things that some members of the team cannot or might not want to get involved in.
Making CSR initiatives accessible to employees requires a concerted effort from organisations to create an inclusive culture, offer flexible volunteering options, providing resource, establishing partnerships and getting your communication right!
By adopting these initiatives businesses can really empower their employees to make a positive impact on society and help to create a better future.
If you would like any more information or support with CSR initiatives for your business, or would like to discuss opportunities for Sellick Partnership, please get in touch with us here.