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Boosting Employee Engagement through Community Involvement

Community involvement has always been highly rated as a positive aspect from the CSR perspective, one that engages the employees of an organization productively and drives overall engagement in an organization. Employee engagement undoubtedly has been extremely critical for organizational health and therefore needs to be prioritized by all organizations.

A highly engaged workforce has always found a top-ranking place in the organization’s wish list. The top management and the HR team direct their efforts and planning toward achieving this. An engaged employee goes that extra mile to work for the success of an organization realizing fully well that an organization’s success is not delinked from his or her success the two are intertwined to complete the circle of success. An emotional connection with the company is very important. High levels of community involvement can be found in companies that themselves are strong advocates of community involvement. Companies that demonstrate social responsibility also drive high employee engagement.

Studies conducted on the subject of employee engagement through community involvement have revealed that very few companies, even less than 10 percent leverage their community involvement programs to drive employee engagement. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons though. A few are, that these companies don’t have the resources or the strategies that are needed to manage and monitor their CSR initiatives, therefore sustained involvement is not possible. Many companies believe that their participation in community programs is only limited to checkbook support and donations. This belief trickles down to the employees too and they don’t look beyond the donations aspect. The HR and CSR team must actively engage with the employees regularly to explain to them and motivate them to avail the available opportunities like volunteerism and beyond. This will go a long way in their adopting a community engagement-driven approach. Engaged employees undertake fundraisers, collection drives etc. on behalf of the organization that they represent for the community that they reside in or decide to support.

An effective way to support employee engagement in the community is to create employee ambassadors from within the company who support and advocate a special community cause. The role of an ambassador helps the employee understand the company’s CSR perspective, and work towards it. Employees feel good when they are contributing to something more than just the company’s bottom line.

Communication with employees helps in gauging their community engagement levels. For creating a CSR program casual and formal or structured conversations with the employees help understand their inclination and interest in the community-driven programs. The corporate ambassadors can help in the planning and coordination of community involvement activities and gathering feedback about the program from their peers and colleagues. Service through volunteerism can be promoted by the corporate ambassadors. If the organization is multi-locational, regional teams can be created to work together and ensure an alignment of purpose and practice throughout the organization.

There are manifold benefits and advantages of such teams and group ambassadors. This promotes a purpose-driven culture and also resolves the resource issue that is often scarcely available and very precious too. Employee bonding is encouraged as all levels of employees engage with one another which would otherwise not be possible to do. For multi-locational companies regional ambassadors are very good since employees are isolated from the central teams and there is a wide disconnect. The regional ambassadors create a sense of belonging and unity. A sense of inclusiveness and a shared sense of purpose is a beneficial outcome. Staying connected with a common goal does work wonders for employee and community engagement.

There is a lot of truth in the saying that community service is great for boosting employee engagement, contributing to the social good, and fostering teamwork. The first and foremost step is to elicit the voluntary participation of employees without them feeling overburdened with it as a chore. An organization has to take certain measures that promote a culture of giving back. Employees can then participate in meaningful volunteer activities.

An organization must convince the employees that they value the community more than earning profits in their business. This will motivate the employees to harbor thoughts and actions for community service. Not all employees believe in community service therefore a strategy and plan that will motivate them toward it should be in place.

Leaders of organizations must set the organizational perspectives right from the beginning and acquaint the employees with them. The employees must be given the option of choice and flexibility regarding community service since not all of them have the same levels of motivation. This option will make them feel more included and respected and will go towards prompting them to engage more willingly in community service. The organization must respect diversity in the workplace even when it comes to giving back to the community. Employees may share common values but will be able to contribute differently and not at the same level. The HR calendar must incorporate group events, individual time offs, and virtual opportunities for participation too. Respecting the individual choices an organization only seeks to gain, fuels the employee engagement for community services and amplifies the impact by empowering each employee with their own choices for giving back to the community.

The age-old tried and tested system of recognition and reward also works. All community activities undertaken by the employees beyond their regular call of duty must be recognized and rewarded. This gives them the motivation to perform regularly and even better and improve their performance. A system of points and badges can be devised to encourage the employees. They may also be featured in the company newsletter. This inculcates a sense of pride in the employees and does not cost the company a huge amount of budgeting. These feel-good factors can more often than not work wonders.

A system of feedback and suggestions from employees can be initiated that will improve suggestions for community service and make the employees feel more involved and useful. A communication plan that outlines the CSR objectives of the organization to the community and makes it transparent for all concerned will be a clincher in employee engagement for the benefit of the community!



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this section and articles contributed are those of the respective authors, who have submitted it as their original work. They do not reflect the opinions or views of CSR Times, or its employees, management and group publications. The accuracy and reliability of information presented has not been verified by CSR Times. CSR Times will not be held responsible in any way for the content of this article.






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