Some years ago, I was traveling several hundred miles away from home on company business. At the end of a long day of events, I slipped away to a local styling salon for a much-needed hair cut. I was reclining in the salon chair, head tipped back into the sink, when I became aware of someone standing over me. This individual proceeded to ask me about one of my company’s recently-publicized events and wanted to get my take on what had happened.
After the conversation ended, I wondered how this person had known who my employer was. I chuckled to myself when I realized that my employee ID tag had been peeking out from beneath the plastic cape draped around me. The experience was a great reminder that, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, employees are always company ambassadors.
I was able to respond to the question asked of me that day because my company had regularly and thoroughly communicated about that issue to all its employees. We, the internal audience, hadn’t been a communicational afterthought, copied on an email (or worse, reading it in the news) only after the customers and the shareholders had already been informed.
This attention to employees is a key tenet of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As companies strive to help address social challenges, maintain sustainable environments and contribute to strong economies, employees need to be aware of and engaged in those efforts. When it comes to CSR, what employees don’t know really can hurt.
Employees expect — and need — to be a part of their companies’ CSR efforts. In fact, CSR can be a driver of employees’ job-acceptance decisions.