GIVING EMPLOYEES SOME CHOICE IN THE WAYS IN WHICH THEY GIVE BACK
NOT ONLY CREATES GREATER EMPLOYEE MORALE, IT ALSO EMPOWERS THEM.
Although a business may have an outstanding CSR program,
the rate of employee participation could be lower than anticipated.
Effective communication across all levels of a business plays an
important role in increasing participation. For example, employ-ees
typically don’t respond to these programs if they are only being
pushed by the CEO. But if they know peers are involved in initia-tives,
employees are more motivated to join them. When it comes
to this kind of engagement, co-workers are perceived to be more
authentic and trustworthy than a C-level leader.
The structure of these programs also contributes to employee
involvement. Allowing employees to take paid-time off (PTO)
to volunteer at an organization is extremely motivating and is
also an appealing proposition for new recruits. For example, giv-ing
each employee 10 hours of PTO to volunteer during working
hours every month is a great way to improve participation lev-els.
Additionally, online engagement with employees will help
to drive participation. Relationships with employees, clients and
the industry are built using social media platforms and top per-forming
companies tend to have high engagement with employees
through these mediums. The result is the creation of brand ambas-sadors
from within, while ensuring transparency, authenticity and
relatable content is communicated properly.
WHO WILL TAKE THE LEAD?
By empowering team leads, companies create more engagement
among employees and foster better communication and conver-sations
surrounding volunteer initiatives. When programs are
discussed by team leaders, the initiatives become more tangible for
employees. Their passion and knowledge are transferred to team
members, making it easier for employees to become involved in the
giving back program.
DO SOMETHING GREAT
If an organization has a great giving back program, employees are
involved and the business is making a difference, HR profession-als
can take a step back to evaluate how else they can personally
give back beyond time and money. With a wealth of knowledge,
years of experience and education, HR professionals can apply
themselves and their organizations to initiatives in different ways.
Having taken risks and experienced trials and tribulations over the
course of their careers, HR professionals can provide career advice,
assist with resume building and give guidance for obtaining jobs in
their industry. Youth, students and new immigrants would benefit
greatly from these kinds of contributions.
In addition, companies can bring the professional skills and
experience of their employees to not-for-profit initiatives and con-tribute
time, advice and knowledge rather than just money. This will
encourage employees to apply their professional skills and personal
interests to a cause they believe in. HR professionals can also empha-size
the importance of introducing new or sustaining existing CSR
and HR programs that matter, rather than looking for approaches
that simply support a company’s public relations strategy.
WHO’S GIVING BACK?
Although some businesses view the idea of giving back as more of
a marketing scheme, many companies are doing good for the right
reasons. Here are some companies that should be recognized for
their CSR practices:
■■ Salesforce – The cloud computing company makes volunteering
a part of its culture through its Employee Engagement
Programs, Skills-Based Volunteering and Employee-Inspired
Volunteering, in which employees are given seven paid days of
time off each year to volunteer in any way they choose.
■■ Rogers – The company is dedicated to helping some of
the brightest young leaders across the country succeed in
their educational aspirations by providing scholarships and
community grants. In 2017, team members contributed more
than 10,000 volunteer hours through its corporate Give
Together volunteer days, where employees receive a paid day off
■■ Patagonia – As a huge supporter of environmental work,
Patagonia gives its employees the opportunity to contribute
their time through their Environmental Internship, tree
planting, beach clean-ups and Miracle Grants programs.
■■ StackAdapt – As the top programmatic native advertising
platform, this company gives employees one volunteer day
each year to give back to a charity initiative of their choosing.
Employees are also able to make time for group volunteer
events. Some initiatives they’ve been involved with are the
CAMH Gift of Light, the Humane Society and after school
HOW TO GIVE BACK?
When giving back, sometimes a company’s most difficult deci-sion
is determining how its resources will deliver the most
impact. It’s important to thoroughly research initiatives a
company may support. The key is to understand the mission
behind a cause: Who do they help? How do they help? Where
are resources allocated? By connecting with leaders of the orga-nization,
a company can gain a more in-depth perspective on
their mission and areas of need. Some causes worth mentioning
include Eva’s Initiatives, an organization dedicated to helping
homeless youth in Toronto and the GTA; more well-known,
Habitat for Humanity focuses on creating and fostering decent
and affordable housing for families.
Businesses are driving positive change in their communities
worldwide. It’s just a matter of finding one that both employees
and an organization believes in and can commit to helping. n
Jamie Hoobanoff is founder and CEO of The Leadership Agency.
46 ❚ SEPTEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL