Cat Hodgson of Euromonitor shares six strategies that fuel her company’s global CSR program.
My company, Euromonitor International, recognises the value corporate social responsibility (CSR) can play in engaging employees, strengthening the values of the company, and supporting the communities where it works. Euromonitor International is a global company, with 15 offices around the world, providing strategic market research and analysis on products in 200 countries. As its Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, I’m proud of our social impact achievements. In 2019, Euromonitor invested almost £1.4 million pounds in its CSR programmes, supported 128 organisations through its Headline and Regional partner programme, engaged more than 57% of staff in volunteering opportunities, and supported 16,000 beneficiaries worldwide.
Here are six ways that my team has created an employee-centric CSR approach, which has been an integral part of our social impact achievements. I hope these lessons learned will help your company engage its global workforce for good.
1. Understand what CSR means to your employees.
Although Euromonitor International has always had a philanthropic arm, in 2012 we wanted to formalise our CSR strategy and how we were engaging with the communities in which we work. We sent a survey to our global team to build a picture of employees’ understanding of CSR and what they would value in a CSR strategy.
2. Don’t silo your CSR department.
We recognised early on that one of the key ways of getting employee buy-in was to embed CSR into every team. Every office at Euromonitor International has a CSR committee, made up of five or more employees from across different departments. The committee is responsible for coming up with ideas to make the company’s wider CSR objectives relevant to their local context.
Every year we spend 1% of our turnover on charitable projects chosen by our staff. Staff who nominate a charity become a champion and typically show a vested interest in engaging their colleagues with the cause.
Euromonitor International also recognises that employees have their own causes that resonate with them and offers match funding to employees who fundraise for a charity.
3. Think global, act local.
When setting a CSR agenda on a global scale, we found it can be challenging to find common goals and values which bring the team together and speak to all of your staff. We introduced three themed weeks for all offices including Green, Health and Wellness, and Community Week. Each office puts together their own local activities from the international theme. In our recent Green week with a “Plastic-Free” theme, many of our offices carried out beach and countryside litter pick-ups and in Bangalore staff carried out planting and greening projects.
4. Engage your company’s leaders.
Central to Euromonitor’s success at engaging our global workforce has been the drive and support from the executive team. The company’s CSR Director sits on the leadership board and CSR activities are often led by the executive team. This demonstrates to our employees the value that the company places on engaging with the communities in which we work.
5. Make it easy to get involved.
When we initially gave employees two volunteering days per year we were largely relying on them to source and organise their own opportunities. In recent years we have facilitated our own community engagement opportunities, often with our charity partners. Many are built into our annual CSR calendar, particularly as part of our themed weeks. [Download a free CSR calendar planning tool from GlobalGiving.] As a result, 57% of employees volunteered with at least one community partner last year.
We have found that the most popular community engagement opportunities are those that staff empathise with. For a large percentage of our employees in London, English is not their first language. One of the popular initiatives has been the monthly reading club which we run for local asylum seekers and refugees.
6. It’s not about the business benefit.
As a profitable company we believe that we have a responsibility to give back. Our strategy is based around engaging positively with communities and the organisations we support, not around the business benefit to Euromonitor as a company. Our staff appreciate and feel invested in this approach.
Apart from the charities supported around our individual offices, we also currently have more formalised partnerships with ten Headline Partners. Through these partnerships we offer higher-level multi-year funding and more in-depth support with their goals.
We are led by the need these organisations identify, so projects are not always the ones with the greatest number of beneficiaries or the “sexiest” story.
By adopting an employee-led strategy, our staff appreciate that we are demonstrably a responsible businesses—not just a passive “Head Office” CSR department, but a global, active, team which all can be involved in to help change things for good. We are proud to say that last year we supported organisations in all 17 sectors of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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Featured Photo: Euromonitor International employees in Hong Kong clean up beaches. Volunteer activities like these are one way that Euromonitor International engages its global workforce. Photo by Euromonitor International.