CSR is allowing employees to leverage their professional skills
and interests in service of the company’s social change focus. Not
only is the company fulfilling its CSR mandate, but employees
are doing meaningful work beyond their regular role, team
building and developing new skills. “This type of engagement
is a direct contributor to recruitment and retention,” said Klein.
“There’s also evidence that it contributes to things like creativity,
productivity and teamwork back at the office.”
■■ Run all year round: The one and done annual approach to CSR
translates to “dutiful, obligatory participation,” according to de
Lottinville. When it’s woven into the fabric of the company, the
impact is significantly higher. “When the goal is engagement,
rallying around a dollar figure may actually subvert results.
Many companies pick thoughtful participation and impact
goals and work toward them throughout the year.”
■■ Be measurable and managed digitally: Like any company-wide
investment, CSR needs to be measured to truly understand
its impact. Most progressive CSR software like Benevity’s
takes the pulse of the program and monitors for things like
employee engagement. Online platforms are also helpful for
creating efficiencies and allowing everyone to manage and
report on donations, volunteering and other activities in one
place. Linking program participation to more conventional HR
measures like employee churn and engagement surveys provides
powerful ROI for programs.
TELUS TAKES MODERN CSR FOR A SPIN
Over the last 10 years, TELUS Canada has restructured their
CSR program by integrating it into all other business areas.
“We moved from philanthropy to strategic philanthropy. We
leverage the assets of our business to address social issues and
engage our team and customers,” said Jill Schnarr, vice president
of corporate marketing.
Changes have included empowering community investment
managers in regions across Canada to run TELUS’s community
granting program locally. These managers also sit in on monthly
business sales meetings and are brought into key conversations
with charitable customers in their communities.
“Because of what we do in the community, that manager is part
of a conversation with those customers and helps drive significant
amounts of new business into TELUS because we’ve leveraged
what we’ve done in the community to create a better connection
with an end business customer.”
The company’s chosen social purpose is ending the technolog-ical
and socioeconomic divide in Canada. The goal is to enable
everyone to be connected, safe and healthy in a digital world,
particularly at-risk youth and low-income families who may not
have access to technology. Their CSR program includes engag-ing
employees and retirees in volunteering, donation matching
and giving back activities across Canada. Last year the company
reached an unprecedented goal of volunteering one million hours
to charitable organizations across Canada. Giving is closely inter-twined
with TELUS’s culture, and incentives include a donation
matching program and a volunteer rewards program that provides
grants to a charity of an employee’s choice when they give their
time to the cause.
They’ve recently begun using Benevity to better run and mea-sure
their social impacts – and have found positive results in
“We’ve seen that the more employees participate in these com-munity
engagement programs, the more choice we give them and
the more we relate to their passion, the more they’re engaged with
the company,” said Schnarr. “We’ve learned that when our team
members give back, they’re happier, and provide even better ser-vice
to our customers who, in turn, are happier. It’s an amazing
chain link effect.”
TELUS integrates the CSR program into recruitment by
detailing their social purpose on their career website and at career
fairs. They also include the company’s social purpose mission in all
welcome and training programs for new team members, “a major
component in onboarding new team members is sharing what we
do in the community. We preload a $25 donation into our new
recruits’ giving account so they can give to a charity they care about
at the very beginning of their career with us. It speaks to them
immediately about who we are and how we value giving back.”
WHERE DOES HR FIT INTO A
MODERN CSR PROGRAM?
In large organizations, CSR may be its own entity, but more typi-cally
it’s part of the marketing, communications or HR functions.
Due to its potential for employee recruitment and engagement,
HR may have a special interest in developing and nurturing a pro-gram,
regardless of where it reports in.
Whether you’re a small organization or a conglomeration, the
first step is simple: talk to employees.
“Surveys, focus groups, lunch-and-learn discovery sessions
or arranging time for small groups of employees to meet with
a charity are all ways to understand what’s important to them,”
Investing in CSR software is also a good step toward creating
an integrated program. de Lottinville says providing a convenient
and tech-savvy way for employees to give back can be enough to
enhance the kind of engagement HR is looking for.
“We are hardwired to do good; we just need to give people more
opportunity to be their best selves,” said de Lottinville.
No matter the budget, it’s clear that CSR can play an inte-gral
role as part of a bigger talent strategy. It may be a revolution
worth beginning. n
ABOUT BEING ‘VOLUNTOLD’
WHERE AND HOW
TO GIVE BACK.”
– BRYAN DE LOTTINVILLE
24 ❚ MARCH 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL