CSR Round-up: Our Favorite Reads This Summer

We’re halfway through 2019, and as we take the time to reflect on the state of the industry, one thing becomes clear — now more than ever, both employees and customers expect companies to take responsibility for the future and put into practice their stated values and beliefs. What does this mean for your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy and employee volunteer program (EVP)? Let’s explore in our summer round-up. 

This month, you’ll find reactions to the recent Wayfair walkout, the growing popularity of Volunteer Time Off (VTO) policies, tips for effectively engaging the next generation as they enter the workforce, plus why CSR should no longer be a top-down strategy.


Wayfair Walkout Signals Rising Expectations for Companies to Take a Stand
Abha Bhattarai for The Washington Post

On June 26, hundreds of Wayfair employees staged a walkout to protest the sale of furniture to U.S. border camps after a petition to cease all business with the camps, or to donate profits to the organization RAICES, failed. The movement gained traction on Twitter under the hashtag #WayfairWalkout and highlights the fact that these days, neither customers nor employees want brands to remain neutral on hot button issues. Instead, as one public relations expert put it, “People want to know about a company’s soul. People want to know what a company stands for.”

Wayfair Reminds Us Corporate Responsibility Doesn’t Always Come from the Top
John Friedman for Triple Pundit

These days, individuals seek out workplaces where the company’s values align with their personal beliefs, and employees aren’t afraid to demand change when they feel their employer’s business practices are inappropriate. If there’s one lesson to learn from the Wayfair walkout and similar employee protests, CSR thought leader John Friedman says it’s this: companies must listen to their employees. Corporate responsibility leadership doesn’t have to come from the top down, especially in an era when customers and workers are holding businesses accountable.

Take a Look at the Future of CSR Leadership
Stirling Myles for SmartSimple

The current understanding of corporate responsibility suggests leading CSR programs must now take a purpose-driven and employee-centric approach. CSR software solution SmartSimple put together an excellent decision-making model to help you implement this approach at your company. Plus, learn how doing so will help you achieve greater social impact, stronger brand loyalty and more engaged employees.

Do Good…or Not: Can Employee Volunteer Days Meet Their Lofty Goals? 
Marco Buscaglia for The Chicago Tribune

Traditional employee volunteer programs (EVP) rely heavily on company-wide volunteer days. But are they the best solution? This article highlights some of the issues with single days of service, from questions of impact and authenticity to the challenge of taking a day off in the face of stringent work deadlines. Are employee volunteer days worth it? And if not, what should your EVP look like instead?

Help Others, Help Yourself: How Employee Volunteerism Can Build a Better Workforce
Julie Clugage for Fortune

So, how do you implement a purpose, impactful and engaging EVP? Skills-based or pro bono work can help. Unlike volunteer days, skills-based volunteering often gives employees more choice regarding when, how and where they want to volunteer, leading to greater satisfaction and more valuable outcomes. Here’s a great example of how tech workers are getting involved with long-term pro bono projects around the world to create lasting impact.

Why Corporate Volunteerism and VTO Are on the Rise
Latasha Doyle for GuideStar

Here at VolunteerMatch, employees are given 8 hours per month to volunteer their time at the organization of their choice. While VTO isn’t new (we’ve been raving about it for years!), it has become somewhat of a hot commodity more recently — and for good reasons, too. If you haven’t already adopted a VTO policy at your company, learn all the ways it can benefit your employees, community and your bottom line in this thoughtful blog from GuideStar.

Is Your Employee Wellness Program Ready For Generation Z?
Alan Kohll for Forbes

The first wave of Generation Z is graduating from college and entering the workforce this summer. Are you prepared? This article summarizes who Gen Z is and what they’re looking for from potential employers. Two of the standout traits — Gen Z is more socially conscious and invested in giving back than previous generations. Meaning your CSR program is becoming even more of an asset when it comes to recruiting new talent, and this likely won’t change anytime soon. In order to remain attractive, you’ll want to make sure your company’s CSR policies and employee volunteering options are in line with current best practices.


What have you been reading lately? Share your favorite CSR reads in the comments section below. 


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