Are your employees living and breathing your sustainability pledges ?

For all the right reasons companies queue up with sustainability pledges, and even though many is a bit hesitant to admit it, it is becoming a competitive advantage for companies ramping up their content in this area.

The driver of this development is pretty clear – or as Forbes says in this article;

A recent report from Aflac said that 77% of consumers are more willing to purchase from a company with a CSR pledge — 73% of investors agreed. Business leaders know it too. According to one study, 9 in 10 business leaders said consumers would hold them accountable for the environmental impact they make through their business — an even greater ratio than shareholders, employees, or government regulators.

Browsing my social feeds I have seen a significant increase of content supporting companies climate pledges, environmental goals, social responsibility initiatives and other CSR plans – but the majority is “company posts” – and not employee driven distribution.

It tells me that sustainability has hit Comms, Marketing and SoMe and the sheer volume of content indicates that it has been adopted as a strategical factor, and that the “content machine” is on overload. However, the lack of employee driven and/or employee distributed content in turn tells me that employees really haven`t been involved or engaged in the strategy laid out…

I am absolutely certain that efforts have been made internally to inform and spur employees attention, but is that enough to make employees own the pledges and being able to convey them ?

Companies making public sustainability pledges is all good, but if done without including and engaging employees is quite an oxymoron as pursuing and fulfilling the pledges, is an achievement by the many, not the few. 

Strategically, I believe that companies able to establish true ownership of CSR amongst employees and supporting them to convey the message, will experience vast competitive advantages – not only in acquiring new business and sustain existing business relationships, but indeed also in being able to attract talent. 

So, if you haven`t had a focus on employee engagement previously, you probably should look into it! Even on overload, your “content machine” won`t be sufficient.

Even though I assume “selfies” are totally outdated; “Have your CSR content take a selfie”, and ask yourself;

  • Is it just a bit to polished ?
  • Is it dominantly distributed via corporate channels ?
  • Is it – really – made with target groups in mind ?
  • Would employees be able to own the message and understand all the figures and buzzwords ?
  • Does it give you a fair share of voice ?
  • Whats the content engagement rate ?
  • Is it “drowning” amongst similar messages, formats and content types ?

Use the sound foundation of your CSR strategy, and make it everyones pledge to own and convey the message. Balance corporately distributed content with an employee driven distribution based on ownership and clear purpose, and you will experience a much better traction internally as well as externally.