Fall is here. Typically, we’d be in the throes of back-to-school events, prepping for Halloween, and searching out fall festivals, but this year, we're still hunkering down in the pandemic. With many places of work still under some sort of stay-at-home order, we wanted to give some tips on how CSR departments can help employees get back on track and stay healthy and engaged for the duration of this pandemic, despite the uncertainty.
1. Partner with HR to Ensure Your Employees Are Healthy and Stable
Start by emphasizing the need to ensure employees stay healthy mentally and physically. We suggest working with HR to build a committee and plan next steps. Then look into those employees facing hardships (family members sick, spouse not able to work, needing extra childcare), and look at using disaster funds to support employees and have them support one another through an employee assistance program, or EAP.
Be sure to consider the following:
- Gauge the needs of your employees
- Collect monetary or payroll donations from your workforce
- Offer employee services such as mental health support, food security, or housing assistance.
2. Support the Organizations that Support Your Employees and Community
Your employees and the rest of your community depend on schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and other organizations, most of which are facing immense challenges. By working closely with HR to understand the demographics of your employees, you can provide support by ensuring these organizations have what they need. In light of the recent events and calls for racial justice, speak with your under-represented minority workforce, to listen, provide support, and understand their circumstances and challenges, which may differ from the rest of your employee population. You can do this through surveys and polls, or with small group meetings, which can take the place of the typical in-office or colleague get-togethers. Encourage your organization’s leadership to do the same, so the responsibility is shared and not limited to HR.
3. Invest in Your Community with Time and Money
Another way to support your employees and community is through giving programs with the local nonprofits. Nonprofits need help now more than ever, as economic crises can lead to a decrease in donations, damaging disruptions in their operations, or the reduced availability of expertise. Regular volunteers with valuable knowledge or skills may no longer be available. These disruptions can rob organizations of the invaluable input of board members, advisors, volunteers, and even their own staff if fundraising goals aren’t reached and layoffs happen. And they happen precisely when organizations need big, strategic thinking and subject matter experts to help them navigate and survive a crisis.
Your company is full of talent that can be a lifeline to the nonprofits working around the clock to keep your community afloat. By now, local nonprofits have likely figured out how to work remotely on a temporary basis, but as we move into a long-term model, they may need help with more advanced challenges, such as rethinking shelters and food distribution, implementing contact tracing, or re-prioritizing their offerings with health and safety in mind. Such challenges likely require more advanced skills and technology than was required before. Talk with your local nonprofits to better understand their needs and apply critical thinking, business acumen, project management abilities, and technological expertise to set them up for long-term success.
4. Empower Employees to Drive Programs Forward
There’s no reason you have to be in the driver’s seat all the time. Turn the keys over to your employees by educating them on the possibilities of virtual volunteering. Consider proactively asking your local nonprofits and even governmental partners to provide lists of tasks that can be done remotely. Support your employees to engage in ways that help them own a project, drive it to completion, and build their skills.
A good place to start would be pro bono work. Now might be a good time to reach out and see if your employees can offer their expertise. You can also consider the business you’re in and offer specialty products and services, such as legal, marketing, consulting, software, analytics, and so forth. Everything a business needs, a nonprofit likely does too. And when you support your local nonprofits, your impact on the community is exponentially greater.
Below is a list of organizations that are working harder than ever to support the most vulnerable members of our community during the COVID crisis. Last but not least, consider setting up an email alias to gather your employees’ ideas on how to best alleviate pain in the community during these unprecedented times.
American Red Cross
One Fair Wage Campaign (Alliance for a Just Society)
Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation
In summary, when this crisis is behind us, we will be shaped by this experience with new habits and lessons learned. Companies that listen to and support the health and well-being of their employees will fare better than those that don’t. By helping your community, you help your employees, your customers, and ultimately, your company.
If you don’t have a company volunteering program yet, check out our latest infographic, which helps you plan one according to your company’s greatest need. [Download Now]
Join Salesforce for their upcoming webcast with ACCP on October 15, “Raise the Bar in D&I to Create Shared Pathways to Prosperity”. For more information and to register, please visit our website.