CSR in Crisis Part 1: Internal Communications - Vested

CSR in Crisis Part 1: Internal Communications

CHRISTINA BERTINELLILEADERSHIP

It’s been just over a month since offices across the country moved to a remote working format. As employees settle into routines and companies find their new normal, many of our clients have expressed a desire to help the communities affected by COVID-19. Leaning into existing CSR programs is an immediate and impactful first step. 

We’ve put together our recommendations on how companies can utilize their current charitable infrastructure to provide support to those in need, and properly communicate these initiatives to employees across the organization.


Existing CSR Programs:
By examining existing CSR Programs, business leaders can take a call on which would most benefit from corporate support. It’s also important to consider which initiatives could easily transition to help the effects of COVID19. 

These could include: 

  • Blood drives
  • Food banks
  • Assistance for the elderly
  • Mental health support

This is also a rare opportunity to collaborate with organizations once considered competitors. Survey the landscape of businesses operating in the same space and look for potential areas to join forces and pool resources.


New CSR Programs:
Because many organizations in the financial space are highly specialized, leaders are encouraged to examine the issues they are uniquely positioned to tackle. While financial support for non-profits or other organizations is always welcome, employees may be seeking more personal opportunities to give back. Consider how your employees’ skills — whether they be accountants, investors, managing directors — could be leveraged virtually to support those in need.  


Employee Communications Around CSR:
Internal communications during a time of crisis should always be handled delicately — but in this particular instance, it presents a powerful opportunity for morale-building and camaraderie. These are just a few factors to consider when communicating CSR information and initiatives to employees.

  • Appreciation: Demonstrating an organization’s appreciation for its employees, especially those subjected to significant or difficult change because of COVID-19, is incredibly important. Whether it’s a simple thank-you, or an unexpected pick-me-up, conveying gratitude for both their work and desire to give back is imperative. 
  • Reassurance: In such unprecedented times, a reminder that the situation is temporary is always welcomed. Any opportunity to showcase teamwork through existing CSR successes can offer a boost of security and promise in the program.
  • Resources: Remind employees what’s available to them to help cope with the crisis. This could be a corporate-sponsored wellness program, daily virtual walks, flexible time to accommodate childcare, mental health resources, or otherwise.
  • Opportunities: Employees may still be seeking a way to give back that isn’t covered in new or existing CSR initiatives. Encourage them to research local initiatives to support their community.
  • Pride: Give employees the space and structure to showcase how they’re giving back. Posting photos and updates on social media, sharing employees’ posts and engaging with staff across social channels keeps employees feeling engaged and connected with their employer, and allows the brand to spread the word about its initiatives.
  • Empathy: Understanding that all employees aren’t able to participate in CSR programming — and communicating this — is also important. With school and childcare services disrupted, it may be difficult for employees who would enjoy participating to do so.

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