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Experts Speak English PODCAST

Due out on 14th May 2024 at 7am CEST

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) To Boost Your Employer Brand

Corporate Social Responsibility Communication & Community #177   🎙️Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR can boost your employer brand, encouraging your experts to make that arduous time consuming commute into the office or indeed another location. Being together though is the name of the game - not just for the sake of it, or for controlling purposes but a common goal. That's also a great way to watch your top talent in action on various Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives whilst building a stronger employer brand.

Rough Transcript of the Podcast with the key points and links etc below

Corporate Social Responsibility – often referred to as CSR – has been around for as long as I can remember but since the pandemic I feel that particularly the younger generation are insisting on giving back to society through their behaviour rather than their wallet.

In the process employers can communicate or draw attention to their brand purpose. That’s great for the community that we live in, but also – if done correctly and authentically, can boost your employer brand.

Many consumers, especially younger generations, want brands to take a stand on social and environmental issues. People are happy to break into a sweat and get their hands dirty for the sake of an initiative that they believe in. 20 years ago this was limited to putting together a team for the marathon, but things have moved on and this is a great opportunity, particularly for smaller players in a crowded recruitment market where finding talent can be limited by less appealing salaries.

Whilst CSR activity clearly should never be an excuse not to pay a decent salary, for a lower than market average salary, where the corporate commitment to social responsibility is genuine and in line with your own values that can, for an employee be the deciding factor with all other factors being equal. Corporate Social Responsibility really can move the needle on your employer brand, whether that’s in LinkedIn, Glassdoor or any other social media, networking events or in the press.

Authentic, transparent CSR communication as opposed to green or pink washing for instance where women and environmental topics are clung onto in social media for more reach when values are not necessarily a reflection of that campaign, is important but rare.

Yet CSR can be a team building no-brainer, which can  encourage people to make that arduous time consuming commute into the office or indeed another location. Being together though is the name of the game – not just for the sake of it, or for controlling purposes but a common goal. That’s also a great way to watch your top talent in action on various CSR initiatives. This employee engagement is dynamite and will spill over into your own goals and values and will almost certainly help HR in their talent acquisition efforts – it helps differentiate you from other companies competing for the same millenials in a crowded market.Let me share an example with you.


Example of a local SME
here in Berlin/Brandenburg,Germany: SIK Holz GmbH & BKK was the name of the health insurance company.

You see the whole issue of Corporate Social Responsibility is a bit of a double edged sword, isn’t it?

On the one hand when organisations do something to give something back to society it is often greeted with a certain degree of cynicism but on the other hand if they do nothing for the community and focus purely on profit then that’s not acceptable either – so either which way companies face critisism, so to my mind, owners and directors need to think about their own values first – what is it that you as an organisation want to focus on. Ultimately you cannot be doing good in all areas – when it comes to making an impact it is wise to focus on one source of responsibility and zone in on that, ideally not just with — but engagement.

To craft a compelling brand purpose narrative around environmental or social issues, simply follow these steps:

1. Define Your Brand’s Core Purpose
Start by collaboratively and clearly articulating what exactly your brand’s purpose is beyond just making a profit. What positive impact do you want to have on society or the environment? This purpose should align with your brand values and be authentic to your company’s mission. For example, take Patagonia – a provider of sportswear,  their purpose is
“We’re in business to save our home planet.” Their environmental activism is core to their identity. I know someone who works there and they said that it feels really good to be a part of Patagonia – bingo – employee loyalty secured because they are genuine about making a difference.

2.Tell Relatable Stories with Emotional Resonance
Don’t just state facts and figures. Use storytelling techniques to bring your purpose to life through narratives that really evoke emotions and create personal connections with your audience. Share real pragmatic stories about how your products, services or initiatives have made a positive difference. Use vivid details, showcase individuals that they will identify with, and narrative arcs to your hero stories with conflict and resolution to engage people on a deeper level. I don’t know about you but I am a real sucker for supporting any underdog, whether it is Leverkusen finally breaking the Neverkusen curse, amazing women that I am coaching who have been ignored and mocked as their white males march past them in the race to leadership just because they are at that age, you know, the clock is ticking or people on the autism spectrum trapped with a brilliant mind in a society that is frankly insanely intolerant.

3. Highlight Your Brand’s Actions and Impact
A compelling purpose narrative isn’t just about words – it’s about demonstrating real-world impact through your brand’s actions. Provide concrete examples – use numbers, photos and facts – of how your company is living its purpose through sustainable practices, ethical sourcing, community programs, etc. For instance, Ben & Jerry’s highlights its efforts around issues like racial justice and refugee rights through powerful storytelling campaigns. It’s not just enough to use recycled paper in the printer, there needs to be more meat in the game than that.

Don’t do this…
Some companies launch such a stance with lots of publicity but then slunk back into the commercial norms that are less expensive and easier to turn around – that is a shit storm waiting to happen. If you make a decision stick to it and think about the consequences beforehand rather than being a wimp about it. Fixing a publicity problem is a lot harder than it is to get publicity in the first place.

4. Invite Stakeholder Participation
Make your stakeholders feel like they are part of the journey towards your purpose. Involve customers, employees and partners through interactive campaigns, events, feedback channels and recognition programs aligned with your mission. This two-way dialogue builds a deeper sense of community and shared ownership over the brand’s purpose. Making this a face to face experience is certainly worth considering as it creates more of a community vibe and more media footage too.

5. Use Emotive, Authentic Language
Speak their language. Consciously craft your narrative using language that resonates emotionally with your target audience. Avoid jargon or corporate-speak. Use vivid, inspiring words that align with your brand voice and values. Love Your Melon uses phrases like “battling” and “simple goal” to stir emotions around their mission to support kids with cancer. By following these principles, you can develop a brand purpose narrative that feels genuine, impactful and motivates people to engage with your environmental or social mission.

 

Employee Loyalty - a sense of belonging, doing something worthwhile.

Sustainability is a topic very dear to the younger generation, but also to parents and often saves money too, so by doing something for the environment for instance you can raise awareness and employee loyalty at the same time.

Small and Medium sized or family businesses might well find it easier to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility with less bureacracy than the market leaders in their sector but bigger players listed on the stock exchange will be financially more stable.

Ultimately it comes down to priorities and how you want to be perceived.
It’s about positioning
and if you want to be seen as a decent, responsible organisation that puts it’s money where it’s mouth is. Being open minded and active about your corporate social responsibility is a long term investment that will secure the loyalty of all of your stakeholders, but particularly your clients or customers and your employees at a time when finding talent is time consuming and hence expensive.

It’s not rocket science to look after your talent and make sure that they can give something back to society or do something for the environment through their work but often what you will hear is – especially at the moment – is that due to acute staff shortages there is too much to do. There simply isn’t the time they say and at the same time the staff that are onboarding, problem solving, testing under time pressure are feeling burned out and jaded.
Don’t you think an afternoon teaching kids how to code, do the marketing and plan their time on an agile project would be better than losing a member of staff for a month, half a year, even two years or never seeing them again?

It might sound dramatic but burnout isn’t just some kind of excuse for lazy people not to come to work, anxiety isn’t just a reason to work from home and absenteeism is an indicator of your employee loyalty.
You can put your head in the sand but that’s not leadership. That’s cowardice.

Cocos Communication Challenge

Coco’s Communication Challenge for this episode is to find out what your organisation is doing to do their bit, to give something back to the society that we all live in.

If there is a Corporate Social Responsibility Officer (or whatever other fancy name they give them) then find out how you and your team can get involved.

If this is new to your company, then do some research and find out which causes would be a good fit for your employer’s brand and who you could co-operate with to make a difference.

Tackling CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility in it’s entirety in just one episode is madness but I wanted you to look at the communication elements of this and see how it can make a difference through actions rather that words. But of course you are perfectly within your rights to publicize your commitment and passion for the project.

No bullshit though please, no pink or greenwashing. 

There are lots of resources on the webpage that goes with this episode, including useful articles, a podcast and the playground company I mentioned earlier

Book Recommendation

CSR Book Recommendation - Episode 177 - Experts Speak English PODCAST

Podcasts

CSR Podcast (German) Recommendation - Episode 177 - Experts Speak English PODCAST

Blogs/Articles

A Brief History of CSR
Importance of CSR for Business

I will be adding to this list over time.

If you have a great article (or other resource) to share, that you wrote yourself or found helpful, then do let me know via email
corinne@englishspeakingexperts.com
or via LinkedIn

Who are you following on LinkedIn who really knows their stuff about CSR?



I would love to know so that I can list some experts here.

So be the very best communicator that you can be
and with every conversation you can nudge your way into international leadership – with passion not bullshit.

You’ve been listening to Corinne Wilhelm from English Speaking Experts.

Take care now
Coco

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