It's Time to Put the Social Back in Corporate Social Responsibility

by Saba Software | Posted | Culture

It\'s Time to Put the Social Back in Corporate Social Responsibility



I'm pleased to introduce the author of today's post, Matt Rakowski. Matt is an active member of Halogen's corporate social responsibility committee, Halogen Helps, and an Account Executive helping organizations build their world-class workforces.

Just recently, Halogen Helps put on an event that raised $4,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation of Eastern Ontario. The event was a curling bonspiel complete with games of Euchre and horseshoes. Part of what made it a huge success is that everyone who participated had a great time.

Halogen make a wish foundation fundraiser cards

Photo: these card sharks battled it out in a game of Euchre.

Fundraising or corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities are important for several reasons. They:

  • Provide much needed support to non-profit and charitable organizations
  • Help employees feel like they're contributing to the community where they live and work
  • Provide an opportunity to build connections between employees

Being socially responsible builds lasting connections

Halogen's fundraising efforts got me to thinking about my father-in-law.

He and about 20 of his friends call themselves the "Bootscooters". They've been running events and fundraisers for the Make a Wish Foundation for the past 20 years. They've raised more than $600,000 and have helped grant hundreds of wishes to critically ill children.

While their charitable work has slowed down with age, their friendships are stronger than ever. They get together regularly for drinks or to watch the game, and if any one of them needs help the others drop everything to lend a hand. They all came from different walks of life, different communities, different backgrounds and beliefs but were brought together by how they give back to their community.

Corporate social responsibility can drive employee engagement

I think the story of my father-in-law and his "Bootscooter" buddies is a testament to the power of social responsibility to engage and bond people together.

In fact, a 2012 survey by nonprofit Net Impact indicates:

"53 percent of workers said that 'a job where I can make an impact' was important to their happiness, and 72 percent of students about to enter the workforce agreed. Most would even take a pay cut to achieve that goal."

And...

According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace study, only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work. This means only 1 in 8 people are engaged in the workplace?! What are the other 7 of 8 people doing?

I can hazard a guess: spending more time at the water cooler than they should, surfing the internet for personal reasons, calling in sick when they just want to stay home. And companies are losing out on valuable productivity.

What are organizations doing about this? Executives and HR departments come up with strategies to encourage engagement but the problem is keeping the momentum going.

Maybe part of the answer is offering employees the chance to give back to their communities and put the social back in corporate social responsibility. Making CSR part of your corporate culture is a great place to start. I'd recommend taking this one step further and making company CSR activities employee driven.

This gives the program more authenticity and encourages your employees to become truly invested in what they're doing to support CSR.

Creating a better sense of community

Here at Halogen we're running two fundraising events for the Make a Wish Foundation. Putting on these events requires collaboration and teamwork, and people get a real sense of satisfaction from seeing the wishes of much-deserving children granted. 

halogen make a wish foundation fundraiser curling

Photo: all participants enjoyed a day full of friendly competition on the ice.

These CSR activities tie directly into Halogen's mission, which includes a commitment from the company to be socially responsible and a good corporate citizen.

I challenge other organizations to improve their sense of community both inside and outside of their organizations. You will be amazed by the results.

Your turn: Is corporate social responsibility part of your organization's culture? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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