The one-two punch delivered by hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused widespread devastation across Houston, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other coastal communities. In response, many companies pledged sizable donations designed to mitigate the suffering and expedite the rebuilding process.
Of course, corporations were not alone. Millions of individuals also answered the call, donating substantial sums of dollars to relief efforts.
The outpouring of support reminds us that in times of need, humans can be a very generous group. It also reminds us that no employee recognition or sales incentive program can be considered complete without the ability for employees to allocate some (or all) of their reward earnings to certified charities should they choose to do so.
A giving option is good for anyone in need of help. But it’s also good for the employee-employer relationship. In fact, linking the ability to donate points within a company’s rewards program helps to forge stronger bonds between employees and the companies they work for.
The Two Dimensions of CSR (and why they are both good for business)
Having a viable and visible corporate social responsibility philosophy (for both external as well as internal audiences) is good for business. It gives companies an opportunity to be seen as good citizens both outside and within the enterprise.
External CSR efforts are directed toward outside groups; like challenged citizens within the community, or at collective causes like disease research. Not only do key segments of the population benefit, but so do the companies that sponsor these donations. They associate their brands with positive causes and that visibility in the community helps them attract top talent (often for less pay). Along the way, they also ingratiate themselves to customers who not only show a higher willingness to buy from them but they are willing to pay more for the privilege.
CSR programs also strengthen the emotional bond an employee feels with the company by positively influencing their “self-identification.” In other words, the more active and visible the company’s CSR activity is, the more likely employees are to speak positively about the organization, stay longer with the company and produce more while they are there.
Internal CSR components get less publicity, of course, but serve an important function none-the-less. They include things like employee benefits or other contributions directed at (or in support of) both active and retired employees. These initiatives fortify the linkages employees have with their employers and include things like health care, pension funding, tuition reimbursement, child care and yes, recognition programs.
Connecting CSR and Employee Recognition
There is a clear and positive correlation between CSR initiatives and employee engagement. When employees see a company’s external practices in action, engagement scores increase dramatically. But, when workers have the opportunity to make positive social or environmental contributions (via their job and with the company’s sponsorship) they become more committed to the businesses they work for by a factor of 2:1.
The ability to donate valuable points within the company’s recognition program is a great example of how the two dimensions of CSR can yield positive results. Through the sponsorship of the company’s rewards program, employees can get the opportunity to step-up and do something positive for their communities.
Offering charitable redemption options within an employee engagement and/or sales incentive initiative should not be a difficult undertaking. At Madison we have been doing just that for some time. In fact, we believe that no program is complete without those choices. Through Maestro’s storefront we offer a wide range of selections. That allows companies to easily manage charitable redemption options.