Who Cares about CSR?
The 5th of December is international volunteer day – a day on which volunteers and organisations alike are encouraged to celebrate their CSR efforts.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), when done right, is integral to both business performance and the overall public perception of an employer brand. There is an increasing body of evidence that suggests that businesses which engage in large amounts of CSR activity have more productive employees, better recruitment, lower staff turnover and higher sales than other companies (The Happiness Index, 2017).
Most people want to work for a company that has a positive impact on society. If they end up at such a company their improved job satisfaction is likely to have a positive impact on the work they do.
Here’s a little bit about what we do at Personal Group to ensure that making a difference, really makes a difference;
By involving employees in the CSR programme, and tying it to performance, employee productivity can be increased by a staggering 13% (Edmans, 2012). Companies can go even further to involve their employees in their CSR decision making. Here at Personal Group, we offer every employee the opportunity to donate £100 of company money to a charity of their choice, regardless of performance. We’ll also match any fundraising our team does up to the value of £250.
We have also been actively supporting the Memusi Foundation for three years.
The Memusi Foundation comprises three schools, two in Kenya and one in Tanzania. The first school the Memusi Foundation built is now known as Memusi A, and is located in Magadi, Kenya. The school is supported by a number of different companies who each sponsor a classroom and send groups of volunteers out to help the teachers and children. One of these trips recently helped to establish a solar powered computer lab at the school. Personal Group supports this school but also funds Memusi B which opened its doors to pupils in 2015.
Supporting Memusi is something that has really made its way into the heart of the business, as well as the hearts of the employees. Currently we’re preparing to send our next batch of volunteers out to our school in Shompole, Memusi B. This will be our 9th trip with the Memusi Foundation.
To help illustrate the positive impact CSR can have not only for your company, but also for your employees, we have some journal extracts from one of our October 2018 volunteers to share with you.
‘It was a nice early 6:15am wakeup, ready for breakfast at 7am, and then setting off on the bumpy journey to Memusi B at 7:30am.
‘We were greeted with banners and the children singing. It was lovely!
‘We met all the teachers, waved and smiled at all the children and then it was time to get stuck in with the activities we had prepared to do with the children.
‘The children were fascinated by […] our skin, the hair on our arms, our faces. Always touching and pulling. They were particularly fascinated with the tattoo on my wrist, which they were constantly trying to rub off!
‘During the last part of the day, once the children had gone home, some of us helped with tiling the floor in the new classroom. Myself and [another volunteer] did the mosaic animal for the classroom plaque.’
Personal Group send a group of volunteers to the Memusi schools once or twice a year. The volunteers take donations, help with maintenance work at the school, plan activities for the children, build desks, teach sports such as rugby, deliver feminine hygiene classes to the older girls and assist at a medical camp for the local community that we also fund.
Whenever possible, the medical camp is held at the second Memusi school, Memusi B, a school Personal Group have funded and helped built, which educates children of primary school age. A group of volunteers laid the foundations in 2015 and each subsequent trip has been responsible for helping continue the building work. The goal is to add 2 new classrooms each year, so the school can grow with each new year group that joins the school. Personal Group haven’t done all of the building works, we also provide materials and help when we can, but ideally, we want people in the community to do as much as they can, the goal is to aid the community in becoming self-sufficient. Again this comes back to one of our core values at Personal Group – Run it like you own it.
At its heart, CSR is about a business being mindful of the impact they have upon the community, environment and society as a whole. It is so much more than trying to be environmentally friendly by putting in a hand dryer instead of paper towels and encouraging staff not to print their emails, or to do so double sided if completely necessary. A strong CSR programme requires an active conservation about your impact on the health and welfare of society and the environment. At Personal Group we believe this is what we are achieving via our work with Memusi and with the local CSR activity we have back home in the UK. It’s more than just writing a cheque, its about getting our staff to really understand the value of giving back and the long term effect this can have.
‘As we boarded the plane, you could definitely feel the mix of emotions that we all had. Until next time Nairobi, as said by the Memusi teachers, it’s not goodbye but ‘see you soon’.
‘I was sad, sad that I was leaving when I still felt there was so much we could do to help, and with that came a feeling of helplessness. Yes, we had been there and helped, but we get to go back now to where life is simple. We get to go back to running water and food in our fridges. They don’t get to escape anywhere.
‘These people are so happy and so positive all of the time, despite leading such difficult lives. We have definitely all learnt so much from them. They are a true inspiration.
‘With all that came a small feeling of relief, some of the things we saw and had to witness were so emotionally draining that it broke my heart. I want to carry on helping these people in anyway I can. I will definitely be returning on another trip.’
‘Be the best we can be’ is another of our core values at Personal Group and social responsibility play a part in that. It is our shared values that brings teams together. If your CSR programme is at the heart of what you do, then it will foster a positive work environment and keep your employees engaged with your company values.
And remember, when people feel like they make a difference, they do!
 Edmans, Alex. (2012). The Link Between Job Satisfaction and Firm Value, With Implications for Corporate Social Responsibility. Academy of Management Perspectives. 26. 10.2139/ssrn.2054066.
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