Employee Engagement & CSR: it’s about more than just staff retention

ubereats deliveroo copy.jpeg
Picture stolen from twitter (thanks @sassine_makhoul) – given I was cycling at the time, I failed to photograph the one I spotted…

Cycling home the other night, I fell in behind an UberEATS cyclist. Taped to either side of his slick black UberEATS delivery box was a scruffily home-printed Deliveroo logo. Like so many other food delivery riders, he was ruthlessly batting for both sides in one of the fiercest brand competitions of our day.

To me, it epitomised the importance of employee engagement and loyalty.

Ok, but “is he really an employee?”, you may ask. Perhaps not, but even so “riders are the lifeblood of our business and without them we are nothing”, as William Shu, founder of Deliveroo said. They certainly don’t want riders to be moonlighting for the competitor.

This got me thinking back to our breakfast event last week, where we teamed up with JustGiving and Benefacto to discuss the importance of CSR in building employee engagement. The event centred around our recent white paper addressing how volunteering, fundraising, and sustainability could each be used to reduce the values gap between employees and their employers.

CSR Employee Engagement whitepaper - sustainability, fundraising, and volunteering.

When asked how we could measure the impact of such projects on employee engagement, our responses focused almost wholly on employee turnover figures. This is all very well, staff retention is clearly an important motivation for any employee engagement work. But we missed the bigger picture.

To me, the real business benefits of good CSR centre on building a brand that employees and customers respect and resonate with. Improving not just employee retention, but attraction, productivity, and marketing power also.

It’s easy to measure the impact of any employee CSR programme in terms of hours volunteered, money raised, waste saved, or carbon emissions reduced. At Do Nation, we even take this one step further and measure how much taking part in these programmes impacts employee’s health, wellbeing, sense of community, and pride in the company.

However, the real breakthrough will be when we take measurement through from impacts to outcomes, tracking how programmes affect employee attraction, productivity, retention, and your marketing power. But according to Kitrhona Cerri from World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), no companies are actively doing this yet. It’s a far tougher nut to crack.

Yet it’s clear that given 77% of employees using Do Nation are more proud of their organisation because of it, and on average they speak to 6.7 people about their Do Nation programme, it must be good marketing for the company – whether to future employees or to it’s customers.

And it also follows that an employee who’s happy, who’s more proud of their company, who feels part of a community making a difference together, is far less likely to undermine them by moonlighting for their competitor.

Given that successful CSR can actually lead to some employees leaving (there were several examples of employees getting the bug for doing good and deciding to quit to work for a charity, social enterprise, or school instead), it’s important not to forget that there are many other benefits to engaging employees in CSR.

Loyalty is just one of them.

Deliveroo vs UberEATS: employee engagement

You can download a copy of our whitepaper on CSR for Employee Engagement here, featuring insights and top tips for engaging employees through fundraising, volunteering, and sustainability.

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