How to Engage Employees and Give Back to the Community

Written by: Sara Portillo, Director Marketing & Communications

The “world of work” has changed significantly over the past 18 months, to say the least. Many companies are struggling to keep their employees engaged and motivated in a remote or hybrid setting. And with virtual work normalized during the pandemic, many companies plan to continue remote work into the future.  

One of the most important topics of discussion to come out of remote work is company culture. In a survey by PwC, most executives don’t think their company culture would survive a purely virtual environment and believe employees needed to be in the office three days a week. In contrast, over half of the employees surveyed wanted to work from home three or more days a week.

In terms of balancing employee wishes and business needs, a hybrid workplace is likely to be the norm. This means ways to engage employees to keep a strong culture will also need to change and evolve to meet the demands of new work environments.

For years, studies have shown that one of the best ways to create a competitive advantage in the talent war is by empowering employees to engage with social issues and connect with like-minded colleagues. That’s where a great corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy comes in.

A CSR strategy can improve workplace culture to attract and retain talent while supporting the community and providing employees a sense of greater purpose.

Here are some CSR event ideas for engaging your workforce and enhancing corporate culture through volunteerism, all while making an impact in the community:

In-Person Volunteer Projects

In-person volunteering and day of service events are usually what come to mind when thinking about employee volunteer activities. However, with the pandemic, some complexities arise around safety and the need for socially distanced, COVID-compliant ways to give back. Luckily, there are still many opportunities available that can take place outside or in an environment that allows for the proper precautions. Here are a couple of event ideas to engage employees:

  • Pack and distribute meals for local children and families experiencing homelessness.
  • Paint the walls of a local nonprofit that provides afterschool care and tutoring for students.

Virtual Volunteerism

Not all volunteer opportunities have to be in-person. Virtual volunteering allows employees to collectively give back while contributing individually to a cause from home while working remotely. While there are many ways employees can give back from the comfort of their home, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Assemble hygiene kits and write handwritten notes of encouragement for homebound seniors.
  • Record employees sharing information about their career path for local teens who are exploring post-high school options.

Individual Volunteer Opportunities

As part of a CSR strategy, you can provide opportunities for employees to volunteer that are not part of a company-wide initiative for a specific cause. For example, many companies offer “volunteer hours” during work hours to allow employees to give back on company time. Other companies help recruit employees for specific volunteer activities that take place outside of office hours. Either way, here are some examples of individual volunteer activities you can make available to your employees:

There is no doubt that company culture will continue to be a hot topic. The best thing you can do is embrace change as it will inevitably come and create ways to keep employees engaged in your company.

Whether you want to introduce CSR initiatives to your company or enhance your current CSR strategy, United Way of San Diego County can help. For years, we have supported corporate partners in giving back campaigns and day of service events. We now offer many more CSR opportunities and can guide you in creating memorable CSR events in-person or virtually.