Why Employee Civic Engagement is Important to Corporate Social Responsibility
Employees who feel socially connected and supported in their workplace are more productive and engaged. They are also more likely to feel committed to their company and be less likely to leave.
Creating a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing current events and politics can help foster a sense of community and connection. Additionally, providing resources such as newsletters, fact sheets, or talking points can help employees feel informed and empowered to get involved.
As employers recognize the tremendous benefits of a workplace where employees feel socially engaged, they can do more to give employees opportunities to get involved. This can be anything from lobbying their elected representatives to attending local events.
Whether you're an organization that wants to help your employees engage with current issues or an individual looking to get involved in a cause you care about, here are five ways organizations can support their employees' civic engagement.
1. Lift up your employees’ civic interests.
Instead of pushing employees and partners to implement social impact projects that they may not be passionate about, encourage them to pursue civic engagement opportunities based on their own interests. Put out a poll or solicit anonymous feedback about the social issues your employees are most passionate about. From healthcare to voting rights to poverty, commit to two or three major civic priorities or company themes for the year.
2. Share stories about employee civic engagement.
Invite employees to share videos speaking about their civic values, and then showcase those videos to other employees in your company Slack channel or at your next offsite.
You can also consider asking employees to share personal stories of how their volunteer or social impact work has affected them. These stories are a way for your team to connect with and inform one another and feel inspired by their colleagues’ civic engagement. Always encourage conversation and engaging debate. You can even implement practices like an Employee Spotlight initiative to highlight a new employee each month to inspire others to join in community engagement.
3. Offer civic resources, information, and tools.
Create a home base where your employees can learn more about relevant civic issues and share their opinions with a community of members. In this space, you shoulddisplay current events, upcoming elections, and other community programs that your employees might not be aware of.
If you’re an employer who has not yet found a resource that you like, Countable offers non-partisan content to track pending legislation, learn more about the news, and contact their representatives directly. Far too often people believe getting involved is a challenging process, but these tools facilitate participation and quick understanding.
4. Provide generous volunteer time off.
You’ll find that many employees want to do more but feel like they don’t have the time. Develop a paid time-off allowance for employees to explore the causes they care most about—helping at the polls, at a soup kitchen, or elsewhere.
Offering this benefit demonstrates your company’s commitment to the community and its employees’ personal growth. In turn, this increased engagement will likely lead to higher productivity and creativity in the workplace.
5. Regularly communicate on timely civic events.
Employees want to hear from their executive team when a major public event—good or bad—occurs. Proactively send a note to your workforce, and use polls or other digital tools to create a space for people to respond with questions or concerns.
They will appreciate your transparency and feel empowered to raise their voices and share their opinions. Employees are just people with passions, opinions, and beliefs. Empower them to be civically active in their communities, without the fear of negative consequences at work, and build a more active and engaged company culture.
6. Recognize employees’ civic activity.
Set up a weekly contest that encourages your employees to highlight and share the various ways in which they are engaged and active around town and in their communities.
This could be as simple as asking them to fill out a weekly community poll or posting photos of recent activities on your engagement platform—and then follow up with a reward when they do. Incentivizing employees to share their good deeds will also encourage others to participate and strengthen your company values in the process.
7. Reward civic activity outside of the office.
If employees are volunteering their time to a cause, consider rewarding them with company swag or cash donations from the company’s budget.
In addition, nonprofits can sometimes provide discounts on products and resources for companies that support them through donations. This helps you build connections within your community while giving your employees an added perk to enjoy.
Incorporate employee engagement into your corporate social responsibility roadmap
Its clear employee engagement is critical to the success of any company's civic responsibility roadmap. By recognizing and showcasing employees' civic interests, companies can foster a corporate culture where employee engagement is celebrated.