What We Learned As Corporate Social Responsibility Specialists – CSR Experts Working In Business

In Today’s Article we are going to share with you some learnings that we have gathered along the way as Corporate Social Responsibility Specialists working with businesses and brands on developing CSR initiatives and an ongoing strategy. In one of our previous articles, we discussed some set of skills that we consider important when working as CSR professionals or Sustainability experts. If that article is of interest to you, feel free to read more about it here.  

For this article, we are going to share some of our learnings that we have gathered for the past 6 years. These learnings include: different points of views and experiences that we hope will be useful to anyone who is currently working in the CSR space or is interested in this field. 

Background is not as important as the willingness to learn. 

Attitude is almost everything. A person can have a lot of background experience, come from prestigious universities or well established businesses yet they might still not be as qualified as someone who is really passionate about doing something. We have seen that it is very hard to keep a job In the corporate social responsibility or sustainability space, if there is a lack of determination or a vision that does not include long term thinking and different perspectives. 

We consider a great fit someone who wants to continuously learn and is excited about experimentation. While we always say that CSR is something that is strategic for businesses, there is a lot of creativity that goes into developing ideas, processes and next steps for a very well put together action plan. 

Knowledge is power but you will be faced with situations where you do not have all the answers. 

When approached with a situation where you do not know the answer for, it is ok to say that you do not know the full correct answer and that you might need some time to do more research.  As someone who considers themselves knowledgeable, this was something that was very hard for me to accept at first. 

One of the main reasons I struggled with admitting that I did not know something was because I thought that that made me less professional – when in fact it is the opposite. It is acceptable to not have the full answers for everything and it is ok to admit that you do not know something. 

For example, in a client call we were discussing the sustainability aspects of an upcoming launch of a beauty product and if the container was going to be fully recyclable. There was one component from the mechanism of the product that was not fully recyclable because we did not find a recycle alternative in the market – at that moment, there was not one. We did not know if we could find something else that could work to advise the client upon and that was a situation where it was ok to admit that we need more time for research. 

There are so many things that are changing from one day to another – and this is not happening just in the corporate social responsibility world. No one expects us to have all the answers. The solution comes from doing work and trying to get to a solution. 

You will fail but patience will be the key to your next opportunity. 

You can work for months on the same project, same initiative with the same team and then at the last minute, a few days away from launching, something happens and the plan that you and the team was working on becomes postponed. And that is ok. Situations where work is delayed happen. Managers will change their mind. As you go along, the project will change. 

You can start with one idea and action plans for a project and then adapt it and change it half way there. These situations happen frequently because as you go along, you are getting more feedback, more ideas and the project is growing. If you expect that you will have a steady ride from start to finish we are here to tell you that this scenario happening is very unlikely.  

The first draft is mainly the starting point and then the more people you get involved with, the more opportunities arise for the project to change. Think of it this way: – you propose an idea, you are working with 3 other people and out of all these three people, all of them have at least three different ideas of how to approach this. Now it is the time to be flexible and embrace change – in all of its forms. 

Not everyone will be on the same page as you.

We encourage you to embrace change. Embrace ideas and be flexible. In this space, there are many parts moving and changing from one day to another. As a CSR professional, you need to be ok with your ideas not always making the front page – even if you contribute to them. The vision for a CSR expert needs to be tailored around the success of the project not around personal accomplishments. It does not matter who came up with what idea, what matters is the end vision and constant progress of each strategy. 

Be prepared to get asked a lot of questions.

If you are getting a lot of questions, it means that you are doing something right. In the CSR space, the more questions you get, the more likely you are to be heading the direction of progress. Questions in the sustainability and corporate social responsibility field means that you are getting one step closer to finding the best alternative. For example:

  • “what if we use this material instead of this?”
  • “can we switch to a more sustainable option?”
  • “if we choose x – will it have a lower impact on y than z?”

These types of questions are essential when setting up a sustainability strategy or a CSR business strategy. If these questions are not arising, there is a high chance that you might not be looking at the whole picture.

Bottom line is – be prepared to get asked a lot of questions and be comfortable about it. 

We hope you enjoyed today’s article. Feel free to check out other resources that we have on this website and ask us any questions you might have. Always happy to help!

Struggling to Implement a CSR Strategy For Your Company? This Step by Step Guide Will Help.

Many times we hear Companies or Brands struggle to decide on a CSR initiative or on a CSR Strategy that they would like to implement. There are always many discussions that need to take place and many stakeholders involved in the process and while communication is the key, it is not always the solution to everything. In today’s article, we would like to help by sharing some steps that companies or brands need to take in order to make the process of implementing a CSR Strategy a little bit easier. 

Re – Discover Your Company  / Brand

Before getting started on a CSR initiative or strategy, we recommend that in order to take a first step in the direction of corporate social responsibility, you would actually, take a step back. At this point of time, we encourage companies to take a good look at their business to see: how far they have come, who are they serving, what are their goals, mission and vision and to really take another look at how sustainable the company is going to be in the next few years. Will it survive? Will it outperform? 

We really encourage business owners and other stakeholders to really take a good glance of their businesses in contrast to everything that is happening in the world and consider if the activities they have done up until that day will continue to serve them well in the next few years. (especially if they continue the way they did up until now –  without making any changes).

While we know from habit, that companies like to skip this step because most of the time they do not see the whole value of re-analysis a business (especially one that is growing and has been on a positive trend in many aspects) – this step is crucial to be done, mainly because it is setting up the foundation for the upcoming changes. For the companies or brands that find this step unnecessary, we would like to point out that at CSR Growth, we do view the business as a whole integration system and we take an active part in the Business Audit before actually starting working on the CSR Strategy.  All parts involved need to understand the Business as a whole before working on adding initiatives to make it grow. Everything always starts at the bottom. 

Discover Your Companies Weak Points

The next step after analyzing the business, is to directly reflect on what is not working in the Business. What is your business not addressing? What is your business lacking? Is it good leadership? Is it not communicating or reaching your targeted audience well? Is it a lack of trust? Are you over delivering? Underdelivering? Not meeting deadlines? Are your orders scaling? Revenue decreasing? 

Go back to basics and use different frameworks to identify your company’s weakest points. Many companies like to use the SWOT Analysis mainly because it is really easy to implement and follow, but know that there are other tools and frameworks your business can use in order to analyze this aspect. 

Don’t go after everything all at once

While there are many challenges when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility, we have seen that the main challenge comes from picking and deciding on an initiative that will resonate with the company’s targeted audience. A lot of times, the most common mistake we see is that companies who made an in depth analysis of their business, discovered a lot of initiatives they can do and are missing out on and so they are trying to change too many things at once.  While it is great to be extremely innovative, we do not encourage making too many changes at once. For example: if your company is working on decreasing the carbon emissions and is doing a great work at finding other packaging solutions for a more sustainable alternative, the main focus should be on that until everything is covered and all the feedback has been gathered.

We think that it is much better to do one thing really really well than to run after implementing too many initiatives that are not well designed, though, which can also back-fire if not implemented correctly. 

We encourage that in order to prevent going after too many rabbits at once, to really reflect on the next point. 

Hear Your Customers and Audience 

In CSR, there is nothing more important than hearing your audience and your customers. Oftentimes this point is overlooked but it should not be this way. Your company’s customers are your greatest assets. They are the ones that are using your products or services first hand and they are the ones that can offer the most valuable feedback. 

When you are initially getting started on developing your company’s CSR Strategy, it is important to see and understand what is important to your customers and audience. What would they value more? How can you add more value to your customers and your business? Is there a way that these would go hand in hand?

Get Started on Your CSR Strategy Development

You re-assest your Businesses, You addressed the direct feedback you had from your customers and now we can say you are a bit more ready to get started on your CSR journey. Now it’s hussle time!

It’s time to go back and gather everyone (unless you have a dedicated departement in your company handling CSR) and brainstorm based on all the answers you have gathered.  Here are a few other questions to reflect upon at this stage:

  • Where can my company make a difference?
  • How can I add more value after knowing what is important to my customers / audience?
  • What is the easiest way to get my message / initiative heard?
  • Who do I need to work with and contact to grow?

Expect That It Will Take A Bit Of Time.

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility and CSR is not something that can be done in a few weeks of work. Expect that in the upcoming period your hands will be tied down for a while. Corporate Social Responsibility takes quite a lot of planning and organizing before everything works smoothly and you know what you are doing.

Expect that your first initiatives might take a while until you can measure and see the outcome of your hard work. 

We encourage you to be patient and continue to work because more often than not, the result is always worth it.

Need any help? Let us know! We are happy to be part of your CSR initiatives and offer CSR Consulting Services and more. Time to learn from our CSR Specialists and CSR Experts.

CSR Strategies That Companies Are Doing Right Now. Recent Changes in the CSR Space

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”  In today’s article, we wanted to start with a quote from Jane Goodall that underlines the main topic of the day. In today’s article we are going to share with you some recent changes that we have been seeing happen in the Corporate Social Responsibility Space. 

A lot more companies have started to take initiative and speak up more about causes that align with their mission and goals. Because of this reason, we decided to write an article in which we are going to name some recent changes that we have been seeing in the CSR space and what are companies currently doing to stay on top of their Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy.  While we are happy to see that there are more companies speaking up and taking action in making the world better, we consider that marketing causes and initiatives are not enough nor sustainable for the long term. (however, this is a topic for another article).

Here are some recent initiatives that companies, brands and corporations started to implement and lean towards (this year). 

1. Companies Are Reaching Out To Influencers

Recently what we have been seeing is that a lot more companies are reaching out to influencers to market their causes. For example, we have been seeing an increase in companies that are creating paid partnerships with influencers to spread the message about what that company is doing to either reduce their carbon footprint or what donation causes that company is supporting. 

While we can definitely see the trend of reaching out to influencers continue, we want to underline that reaching out to influencers is only a small step in the CSR Strategy and that anticipating what kind of results you might get from this initiative can help you in preparing the next steps. 

One concern we have with reaching out to influencers to either mention a cause you are supporting or an initiative that you are doing is that we encourage this initiative to not be too repetitive. You do not want to reach out to multiple influencers and spread the same message. We also encourage you to consider really well the duration of the influencer collaboration and how often and for how long they will distribute the content. (but once again, this is a topic for another article – let us know if you would be interested in reading an article on what to avoid when working with influencers on your CSR strategy).

2. Companies Are Becoming More Transparent

What else we have been seeing is that a lot more companies started to be more transparent with what they are doing and how it affects everyone involved. For example, supermarkets started to publicly announce (with numbers and statistics) the engagement they created over the years. Such as: how many jobs they created or how many communities they have built and even what they have been doing to reduce waste. 

While we think that companies who are speaking up more about the initiatives they are doing are very good, we also want to mention that we think we have reached a point where the consumer expects companies to be more transparent and open with what they are doing. While this article mentions how companies changed in the CSR space, we have to address and mention that the consumer behavior also changed. It is definitely a circle of progress and growth and for that we are really happy to be here and witness it. 

We are also seeing companies sharing CSR initiatives using different mediums or channels. For example: some companies are creating dedicated videos where they explain what they are doing to help or contribute to a certain cause.

3. Companies Are Learning To Provide Value

Brands and Corporations started to realize that having a great product or a great customer base is not enough if, as a company or brand, they cannot provide as much value to their customers or other parts involved. Because of this reason, we see more and more companies re-thinking their strategies in order to provide more value to their customers.

For example, a Skincare company started to offer Virtual Consultations to help potential customers choose the products that might work best for them or help them learn more about their skin and guide them towards making better choices for their skin type or skin concern.

So now, we can see that in the CSR field, companies are stepping up their game and they are coming with bold, strategic ideas for growth. It is very exciting 

4. How CSR Events, Webinars and Conferences Will Take Place Changes

If the world situation permits we can expect to see more CSR events take place. While, a few years ago companies were creating annual events where they would have fun in an open setting (eg: golf outings), and make raffles, win prizes and offer donations towards the causes of their choice, right now we can expect things to be a little bit different.

Right now, we can see that a lot more donations happen in the online medium, using different platforms and donations happen a few clicks away. 

Because of the pandemic situation, all offline events companies used to do, either got declined or happened in the online medium. While we cannot foresee for how long this might go on, we can expect that for the next few years (at least), CSR events and conferences to happen more online than offline. 

What We Can Expect To See Next In Terms CSR Strategies

What else we can expect in the upcoming period is to definitely see more of this. We can expect to see even more companies reach out to influencers or be more open about the cause they support. 

We can also expect to see more partnerships happen between different brands and companies in order to contribute to changing the world, as a whole. We are very happy and excited to be on the CSR train.

What all this means is that this time is the best time to be courageous, bold and come up with ideas and initiatives that drive change. We surely do not think there is a better time than now. 

Examples Of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

In today’s article we are going to go over different Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Key Performance Indicators (KPI) examples. CSR can be measured in different ways depending on what your company or brand is trying to achieve and which are its main goals.  We are going to go over different metrics and KPIs in which you can measure the performance of your corporate social responsibility strategies. We are also going to share some of our best practices when it comes to measuring the performance of your CSR initiatives.  

Before getting started on the CSR KPIs examples, we have to mention that there is no right way to measure the performance of your CSR strategy. Currently, there is not a “one way fits all approach”, as CSR is very unique and tends to bind and integrate solemnly to your own organization’s main activities and potential growth areas. Therefore, measuring the performance on your CSR strategy and campaign is not a standardized practice and it needs to be adapted to your own business particularities, views, goals and business model. 

Measuring the performance of your CSR Strategy also depends on the current strategies you are doing, as there are many ways in which you can incorporate corporate social responsibility and make it part of your business. For example, as an organization your main CSR focus could be to take care of your employees and reduce the overall negative impact on the environment. All these aspects require different strategies, approaches and metrics in which you can evaluate the performance of your CSR initiatives. 

We tried to categorize different KPIs based on different CSR goals. Let’s get started on learning more about different CSR Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s and CSR metrics. 

CSR Key Performance Indicators Examples

When working in CSR (as in any other business related activity) there are some metrics that need to be considered and taken in consideration so we can see and evaluate the progress that has been done over a longer (or shorter) period of time. To evaluate and see the performance of our activities, we can measure them using different key performance indicators. Here are some examples of Corporate Social Responsibility Programs and different ways of measuring their performance or KPIs. 

Employee Engagement KPIs

  • Employee Satisfaction – The percentages of employees that were happy with [a project, overall work or what is being researched) after an internal analysis has been conducted. 
  • Employee Engagement – The percentages of employees which are engaged in a given project, activity or daily work. (after different internal analysis were conducted) 
  • Employee Volunteerism – Number of hours volunteered by employees.
  • Diversity & Inclusion – helps create a welcoming company culture (usually conducted with the use of employee surveys). Please take note that it is absolutely important to ask for consent and permissions when doing surveys as not everyone is willing to participate. 
  • Employee Net Provider Scores (eNPS) – Simple formula: ‍Employee NPS = (promoters – detractors)/ total respondents (usually used for customers but has been later updated and used for employees as well) 
  • Employee Turnover Rate
  • Job Creation and Skills Development 

Customer Engagement KPIs

  • Event Participation – how involved are customers to the events you potentially host. 
  • Feedback and Involvement  – how involved are your customers. Do you know why they like or why they choose your products or services? Do you know what your customers are really saying about your business? 
  • Return Rate or Customer Retention Rate
  • Consumer data protection and privacy
  • Fair and ethical marketing.
  • Complaints and Resolving Complaints 

Digital Customers Engagement KPIs

  • Interactions on Social Media Platforms – this includes but does not limit to: likes, shares, comments and other interactive digital methods. 
  • Bounce Rate – the overall bounce rate on the website or on different landing pages. This can be measured using different tools or different reports. For example: Google Analytics 
  • Monthly Active Users – the numbers of users active on the website over a certain period of time. This helps in analysing and interpreting different trends. 

Sustainability KPIs

  • Community Participation and Involvement
  • Contribution to Society
  • Development and access to Technology 
  • Sustainable Consumption
  • The Sustainable use of available resources and finding better alternatives.
  • Making better use of the available resources

Environmental Metrics KPIs

  • The consumption and use of energy
  • Overall Emissions 
  • The use of water and materials 
  • Effluents and Waste – percentage reduction in waste and emissions
  • Overall Biodiversity 

Financial and Profit Returns

  • Profit 
  • Revenue growth
  • Percentage increase in market share
  • Healthy cash flow
  • Social Return Of Investment – SROI. 

Please keep in mind that the CSR KPIs examples mentioned above do not contain all the ways in which CSR can be measured. They are only some general examples in which you can consider measuring when working on your corporate social responsibility action plan. 

Do you need help identifying your CSR KPIs?

Please keep in mind that if you need help in creating your Corporate Social Responsibility or Sustainability Strategies, we can help you or your company in finding the right goals for you as well as help identify the Key Performance Indicators to measure the performance of your efforts. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you need any help. You can contact us here or schedule a call with the CSR Growth team to get started on your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. 

More Learning CSR Resources

If you are interested in learning more about how to measure the performance of your CSR and Sustainability strategies, we have written an interesting article which you can find here. This article goes over different ways in which you can measure the performance of your campaigns but also what is important to consider no matter where you are in your CSR journey. 

To learn more on the subject, please consider checking out the following articles:

Quotes on Employee Engagement and Teamwork That We Can All Learn From

In today’s article we gathered a list of interesting quotes that we want to share with you on Employee Engagement and Teamwork. The goal of this article and the list of quotes is to offer some inspiration and help set the trajectory towards next steps and action plans. This article features some of our favorite quotes on teamwork and employee engagement, that we hope you will enjoy. 

With the list of quotes we also want to remind everyone that employees are really important in every company and they can make the difference between a successful company and a very successful company. If you want to learn more about what employee engagement is or learn about our employee engagement consulting services, you can check out the following resources:

Now, we can get the list of quotes started. 

Quotes on Employee Engagement and Employee Engagement Strategies 

  1. “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek
  2. “The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic
  3. “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch
  4. “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey
  5. “To build a culture of engagement it is important to incorporate training on intrinsic motivation and employee engagement into management development programs.” – Kenneth Thomas
  6. “When leaders throughout an organization take an active, genuine interest in the people they manage, when they invest real time to understand employees at a fundamental level, they create a climate for greater morale, loyalty, and yes, growth.” – Patrick Lencioni
  7. “Take time to appreciate employees and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways.” – Bob Nelson
  8. “Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity and meaning in their job.” – Scott and Kelly Blanchard
  9. “Take time to appreciate employees and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways.” – Bob Nelson

Quotes on Employee Engagement and Culture

  1. “The greatest asset of a company is its people.” –  Jorge Paulo Lemann
  2. “Culture is about performance, and making people feel good about how they contribute to the whole.”- Tracy Streckenbach
  3. “To build a culture of engagement it is important to incorporate training on intrinsic motivation and employee engagement into management development programs.” – Kenneth Thomas
  4. “Customers do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers.” – Richard Branson
  5. “You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling: not why it’s important in general, but why you’re doing something important that no one else is going to get done.” – Peter Thiel
  6. “How wonderful it is that nobody needs wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” —Anne Frank
  7. “Talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and with hard work, means everything.” – Patrick Suskind
  8. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”– St. Francis of Assisi
  9. “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch
  10. “Employees aren’t just workers, they’re the backbone of business and that makes them more important than the boss any day of the week. Good Employees = Good Business.” – Kilroy J. Oldster

Quotes on Teamwork 

  1. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
  2. “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
  3. “We are stronger when we listen, and smarter when we share.” – Rania Al-Abdullah
  4. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
  5. “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” – Napoleon Hill
  6. “Shine your light and make a positive impact on the world; there is nothing so honorable as helping improve the lives of others.” – Roy T. Bennett
  7. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
  8. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
  9. “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skill of the others.” – Norman Shidle
  10. “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington
  11. “The nicest thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.” – Margaret Carty
  12. “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker
  13. “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Anthony Robbins
  14. “You win by effort, by commitment, by ambition, by quality, by expressing yourself individually but in the team context.” – José Mourinho
  15. “Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.” – Brian Tracy

We hope you enjoyed this list of quotes and that it inspired you to learn more about: teamwork and employees. We will make sure to update this article with any new quotes we find resonate well with us. Please feel free to let us know if you have any other quotes that you like on this topic. We always welcome feedback. 

Examples Of How The Fashion, Clothing and Accessories Industry Incorporates Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Strategies

In the last few years we have seen an increase in companies and brands who are changing the way they run things. We have taken part and supported companies in: changing their product lines, helped them by offering valuable information on how and from where they can source their materials, and what types of fabrics they should use. We also took part in the whole process and offered insights on how companies and brands can support their  employees in the different stages of the business, from manufacturing to getting the product to the customer. 

Our experience from all of these activities led us to believe and see first hand that the views of the customers are changing and that companies and brands need to adapt fast. 

The most important thing corporations need to know is that their customers are starting to value companies and brands they can trust. The current consumer wants to purchase from companies and brands which are: transparent in their work, create an impact, offer sustainable alternatives to regular products and are speaking about causes that matter.

If you are interested in learning more about the shift in consumers’ views, we have written an article about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Seen From The Customer’s Perspective which you can find here. 

In today’s article, we are going to go over different examples on how the clothing and accessories industry is introducing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Strategies in their day to day operations. 

First of all, we want to mention that overall, the clothing industry has had over the years (and is still having) a lot of ethical issues that they are dealing with. Some of the most frequent issues found in the fashion industry include: low wages, child labor, animal cruelty, health and safety risks, environmental issues and the list, unfortunately can still go on. While we wanted to mention these aspects, the goal of this article is not to go over the issues of fast fashion or general unethical practices found in the fashion / clothing industry. The goal of this article is to shed some light into what can be changed. This article is meant to offer examples of what can be done, and what is being done in the recent period. We plan to do this by offering different examples and approaches that we have seen being implemented and or are being considered. With all this in mind, now, we can get started.

Examples on how the Fashion, Clothing and Accessories Industry Incorporates CSR Strategies and Sustainability Strategies

It is projected that the global market of the clothing accessories and also footwear industry will be worth by 2025, around +$1.002 trillion. That is a lot! Before going over the examples, we want to mention that we do not want to pinpoint specific companies that are actively doing CSR or Sustainability Strategies. In this section, we are only going to mention some of the efforts we are seeing in the fashion, clothing and accessories space when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and how they translate.

In recent years, we have started to hear the term “ethical fashion” used more often. This term generally covers the act of reducing the negative impact of animals, people and the planet in the fashion industry. Ethical fashion can be implemented at any point in the business but it is incorporated in the ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing part. 

For example, some CSR initiatives in the clothing and accessories industry can be:

  • Taking a stand against animal cruelty and not creating products derived from: fur, leather and the list can go on.
  • Treating the workers well by (there are serious concerns when it comes to how workers are treated and in what exploitative working conditions)
  • Checking the material and product sources. For example cotton is widely used but it requires a lot of insecticides and pesticides which can do more harm than good in the long term, affecting the environment and the farmer working with the cotton
  • Current textile growing practices. Many practices are very unsustainable for the long term. 
  • Repurposing old items and using pieces of them to re-create other products. There is a real concern with items with the disposable nature of high street fashion
  • Supporting Community Fair Trade (different programs)
  • Supporting Ethical Trade (Ethical Trade Program, Supplier Code of Conduct)
  • Creating inclusive pieces that can be available for everyone. 
  • Changing their packing to more sustainable solutions. 
  • Taking a stand in helping the Planet and being overall more environmentally conscious: generating less waste, reduction of CO2 emissions, electricity consumption, increasing the amount of recyclable material, decreasing useless packaging materials. 
  • Being open about their values, mission on what they stand for while also taking initiative for all of these. Examples of these values include: authenticity, respect for all parts involved, transparency. 

While there can be many other sustainability and CSR initiatives that can be done in the fashion, clothing and accessories industry, these examples can be considered as good starting points.  We also have to keep in mind what the customers are currently doing. What they are purchasing and how they are viewing the current industry. Since the pandemic, we started to see a lot of change take place in the fashion and clothing industry, especially on how people currently relate to purchasing clothing items. For example, we are currently seeing overall lower estimate numbers and transactions compared to different periods. 

Conclusion

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. While we agree that there are still a lot of things that need to be changed, we see that progress is made daily, even if it is done in small, incremental steps. We are proud to say that we enjoy being on the path of constant growth and development and we hope to see even more companies and brands implement more sustainable business solutions in the near future.

We thank you for taking your time to read CSR Growth and please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. 

If you want to learn more about us, please feel free to read this section from our website and if you are interested in exploring our services, you can find more information here. 

Learning More

Are you interested in reading about Examples on  How The Cosmetic and Beauty Industry Incorporates Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Strategies? Please check out the article here. 

Factors that lead to Employee Disengagement in the Workplace. Signs you have a Disengaged Employee.

In our last article, we discussed what employee engagement is, why it is important, how we can recognize engaged employees and some strategies in order to prevent employee disengagement from happening. We also highlighted some mistakes companies make when trying to engage with their employees. You can check out and read the full blog post here.

In today’s article we are going to go over the main factors that lead to employees getting disengaged in the workplace. Some factors might come off as a surprise, while others are signs you possibly saw from the beginning. While, there are many factors and reasons that causes employees to become disengaged, we are going to start with outside factors that affect particular situations (eg: work environment, team members, managers, work culture, and more) and then we are going to go over the reasons that affect personal growth and development. Some of the factors affecting personal growth and development could be associated with: lack of challenges, lack of feedback or even burnout. 

The Big Two Categories That Can Cause Employee Disengagement

From our perspective we can have two main categories that lead and contribute to employees getting disengaged. They are as follows: 

  • Internal Work Situations – these are situations that are related to leadership, work organization, work culture and even work processes.
  • Personal Views – these include the lack of challenges in the workplace, inability to connect or see the purpose of the actual work, lack of vision, inability to further grow and develop in the company.

Having these two categories in mind, we can now dive in deeper and go over actual factors that cause an employee getting disengaged in the workplace. In our experience, the most likely cause of employees getting disengaged in the workplace is a combination of both categories. For example: we can have an employee that is struggling to see the purpose of their work, they start lacking a vision and a purpose on what they are doing and they can also have struggles with the work organization or work culture which in time will lead to even more a lack of satisfaction and disengagement in the workplace. 

Now that we have categories, from our perspectives the two main factors, we can go over practical examples and possible signs of employees getting disengaged. Before getting started, we want to underline that the factors are not presented in a particular order. 

Management and Leadership Conflicts

The most likely cause that can lead to employees getting disengaged and then ultimately leaving their job is due to management and leadership. While there is possible that there are no “at sight” conflicts, that does not mean that you are a good manager or a good leader. 

Ineffective management is a leading cause that leads to employees getting disengaged. Have you ever heard the phrase: “People don’t leave companies, they leave bad bosses”? Well, in this particular case, it is true.

When it comes to leadership and management styles, there are many ways in which the top managers can create conflicts that lead to disengagement and some of them might even come as a surprise.  Here are some examples:

  • an absent leader will cause employees to get disengaged. Do you know that manager that takes a mini vacation every few weeks? Yes, we do too. Or that manager that you just struggle to connect or create a meaningful relationship with? 
  • a manager that lacks the leadership style to communicate well and identify areas of improvement and growth
  • a manager that is not in the loop with ongoing activities or issues – once again, this goes back to communication. A manager that fails to communicate well will also fail to know the issues that either the company faces or the employee.

Not Having a Direction  – Lack of Vision, Goals and a Direction

While it is important to make a clear distinction between having personal goals and a direction, in this point we are referring to having a lack of direction and vision in the workplace.

It is true that some employees do not need direction or that they know very well why they are doing the work that they are doing but is it important to mention that not everyone is in the same boat. Some employees want to be included in the vision of the company. They want to know the direction that they are headed and they need a perspective. For this they need to be reminded what the goals of the company are and what is the plan moving forward.

We encourage providing re-current information and even set meetings that go over the goals and the direction the company plans on moving forward and to include employees. This way, they can match their own goals to the goals of the company and this way you will ensure that the business as well as the employees move in the same direction.

We know that employees thrive when they are up to date with the newest changes in the company and will appreciate it more when they are not taken by surprise by changes or new procedures or protocols. 

Lack of Feedback and a Lack of Appreciation 

A lack of feedback could go hand in hand with management conflicts or leadership styles but we created a dedicated category – as it is really really important.

A great manager or leader will be able to give all types of feedback: including constructive or less constructive without creating harm.

It is especially important to provide feedback that is genuinely informative and helpful. Please see the following image for examples.

Overall Work Environment, Chaotic Procedures and Pay

Everyone can sense the work environment. Even someone who does not work in that place. It is something that contributes to the well being of your employees. If there is a chaotic, very stressful workplace that over time does not seem to get better, employees will leave. 

It is acceptable to have stressful, recurring situations but the day to day operations should not affect the overall state of employees to a point that they are going to quit because of the toxic work environment or chaotic procedures. If you see employees struggling, with too many tasks, not meeting deadlines, reacting to situations that do not necessarily need a reaction, communicate with them and help them overcome the situation they are in. 

We often see a combination of a stressful work environment with chaotic procedures and bad pay. This will undoubtedly lead to employees getting disengaged. 

While we mentioned chaotic procedures, it is equally important to mention that the lack of procedures will lead to the same disengagement from the employees. 

Inability to Further Grow in the Company

Another big factor leading to employees getting disengaged is the inability to further grow or develop in the company. This is related to employees feeling “stuck” in their workplace. Maybe they have been in the same position for years and they can no longer grow or develop in the company or maybe they do too many repetitive tasks that no longer create a meaningful experience for them. 

While the inability to further develop in a company can happen often, companies should consider: offering training, courses and mentorship programs that can be chosen by the employees based on a specific list. It is even recommended to let employees choose, as they might have other interests with which they can bring new value in the company.

Lack of Challenges & Burnout

This factor, unfortunately, needs little to no explaining. After 2020, we have seen burnout rates increase and there are more and more articles and press releases covering this topic. 

In the next articles, we can go over strategies to either prevent burnout or solutions for it. Please let us know if you would be interested in such an article. 

Conclusions

Having a combination of the factors mentioned above, will lead to employee disengagement that will eventually lead to employees quitting. While we hope this article was helpful and insightful for you, we are going to end this blog post with a question. Do you know your employees retention rate? Here is some food for thought for the next article.

How to Increase Employee Engagement – Employee Engagement Strategies – CSR Growth Program

It is easy to spot employees that are engaged. They make a difference in the workplace and in their daily lives. They are motivated, ambitious and highly invested in what they do. They are committed to the organization and they dedicate their time and ideas for productivity and growth. Does that sound like your employees?

Worry not if the adjectives described above are a bit far off from what you are seeing. There are ways to promote change and encourage conversation. Employee engagement is a process that involves active participation from all parts involved and if done correctly, it can result in productivity results and an increased satisfaction in the workplace. In today’s article we are going to go over the main aspects when it comes to Employee Engagement. We are going to answer a few questions related to: “What is Employee Engagement?”, “Why is Employee Engagement Important?”, “How can we recognize an Engaged Employee?”, “Are there any ways in which we can measure how engaged are our employees?” and at least but not last, we are going to go over one of the most important strategies when it comes to having an employment engagement strategy in place. 

Before we start, we want to mention straight away that Employee Engagement does not equal Employee Satisfaction. These are two different areas and they need to be tackled separately.

What is Employee Engagement?

By definition, employee engagement represents the extent to which employees are committed and passionate about their jobs. It also represents how much effort they put into their activities, tasks and the overall growth trajectory of the company. If an employee is engaged, they will go far to contribute to the organization in the most meaningful way.

Employee Engagement is not defined by how many activities the employee performs or takes part of or how many ventures he / she can tackle at some given point in time. We have to understand that employee engagement is a workplace approach and it goes beyond what the employer does. It is more about: how they do it, how they approach each task, initiative, project and what they think during the whole process and even this is only a fraction of what Employee Engagement really is. 

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Employee Engagement is important, not only because it will help your business have a hard working – dedicated team and grow beautifully,  but because it will give you the power to trust the people you work with, more and more. Everyone can benefit from having an engagement team, mainly because everyone wants to be surrounded by ambitious team members and see a company you love to work with, expand and be bigger and better than it was yesterday. It gives everyone a sense of accomplishment and confidence. And now, who does not want to be around that? 

If you are not already convinced why Employee Engagement is important, here are a few benefits.

Benefits of Employee Engagement

  • Increased Employee Productivity (there have been studies and research done that shows that engaged employees are more productive)
  • Increased Employee Retention (we will have a dedicated post about this) 
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction (engaged employees tend to care more about customers and are willing to go more far and beyond to have a happy customer)
  • Motivated and inspired team (engaged employees can create a “positive” competition attitude and inspire and motivate the rest of the team)
  • Committed and Involved mindset to the current and upcoming projects and development of the organization 

How can we recognize an Engaged Employee? 

As mentioned at the very beginning of this article, we think that we can easily spot an engaged employee as they will very much stand out. Without force, without imposing and without implying that they are somewhat different than they regularly are. 

You can recognize an engaged employee by their:

  • work attitude 
  • how they respond to new projects, initiatives, tasks
  • how they communicate with other team members, customers
  • how they talk about what they do

How do you measure how engaged are your employees?

Did you know that there are ways in which we can measure how engaged are your employees? While, on the market, there are multiple survives that your company can do, at CSR Growth, we created our own set of questions and our set of steps so we can really measure what matters, without oversimplifying it, while also respecting the employees time and resources.

Employee Engagement Mistakes

We have seen many companies when trying to engage their employees, that they start to  incorporate events that they think their employees care about.

While, at the core, this is a good initiative and it can potentially be a good starting point. In reality, this is not a long term solution. Before enrolling in an employment engagement strategy, we need to understand what our employees are really thinking, what is important to them, what are their needs, goals, visions?  We have to know the answers to some of the most common questions:

  • what is our current relationship with our employees? 
  • how well do we communicate with our employees? 
  • are we a strong team? what is our team currently lacking? 
  • what do our employees care about?
  • what are our employees passionate about?
  • what do our employees need? right now and in the future?
  • what are our employees goals? 

We also need to understand behaviors, and the core reasoning behind our employee’s actions. Creating an employee engaged program goes beyond creating reports, analysis, gathering data, doing research, creating a personalized based program which enables us to also find solutions in order to help create an even more engaged team. 

As an employer, you have prepared to answer some really hard questions about your business, your team and face up what might come along the way, as you grow and develop into the team and company you want to be. 

Key Employee Engagement Strategies – Employee Engagement Program

At CSR Growth, we are committed to helping organizations and brands have more engaged employees, while thinking both strategically and sustainably for long term. 

With our Engaged Employee program we can put an emphasis on the what why and how in order to help your organization develop in a healthy, sustainable manner. Learn more about our Employee Engagement Program here

CSR Growth is Partnering up with Happy Impact Map and Nutrition Up Close

Happy Impact Map is a project that was launched in Transylvania, Romania and it started out of a need to find companies and brands that do a great job at making a difference in the world. Even if Happy Impact Map was launched in Romania, they operate globally. The Happy Impact Team wanted to have a place where everyone could find Sustainable Companies and Ethical Brands without searching a long time for them. Happy Impact Map is a dedicated place where everyone can find interesting companies and brands across the world, with little to no effort.

While they are only at the beginning, they have a clear vision of where they want to be. As stated on their website, their end goal is to build a community where conscious consumers work hand in hand with businesses to drive change and become Happy Impacters. Their statement is also very clear: Happy Impact Map – “Connecting Conscious Customers to Business Professionals”. Very neat!

What does Happy Impact Map do?

They Happy Impact Map Team supports: 

  • Sustainable Companies
  • Sustainable Restaurants
  • Ethical Brands
  • Local Communities & Projects
  • NGO’s that are Supporting Great Causes

Get on the Happy Impact Map – How to Get on the Map

They do this by offering a place on the map for free. If you find you are a Company or a  Brand that is working towards creating an impact in the world, fill out the form, get “On the Map Approved” and let’s see more Happy Mappers.

According to the Happy Impact Map Team, it is very easy to get on the Map. All you have to do is:

  1. Fill out the Request Form
  2. Wait for a Reply from the Happy Impact Map Team
  3. Be on the Map

They also have an interesting terminology that we found very engaging and fun. 

  • “On the Map Approved” – A Company / Brand that has been approved to appear on the Happy Impact Map.
  • “Happy Mapper” –  A Company / Brand that has a presence on the Map.
  • “Happy Impacter” – A community learning and growing together.

Happy Impact Map and their Sustainable Development Goals

Happy Impact Map, with the help of CSR Growth is working towards actively seeking to contribute to causes that matter and make a difference in the world. As stated in the Sustainable Development section on their website, they are taking an active part in bringing awareness to the causes that matter to them. Here are the areas where the Happy Impact Map Team is seeking to actively contribute. Out of all the 17 sustainable development goals, Happy Impact Map has a direct interest in :

Number 2 – Zero Hunger: Currently they are working towards raising awareness through dedicated content on: food, nutrition, waste management and by educating young populations on Health & Nutrition.

Number 3 – Good Health and Well Being: Right now, Happy Impact Map is working towards educating their community on incorporating good, healthy habits that lead to an improvement in health and well-being by creating dedicated events / webinars where everyone interested can join.

However, it is important to mention that even if their active participation is only at the beginning, they are conscious about what they want to implement and change and they are taking small steps daily. Recently, Happy Impact Map, launched a new program “Nutrition Up Close”, made in collaboration with Accredited Nutrition Coaches to offer help in matters of food and nutrition.

Nutrition Up Close – A Program Designed for Everyone 

NUTRITION UP CLOSE is a program designed by Happy Impact Map to help everyone make better food choices, with sustainable, easy to follow plans. The program was designed by Accredited Nutrition Coaches with over 3 years of experience and their goal is to help individuals learn more about food and nutrition. 

The NUTRITION UP CLOSE program offers:

  • Nutrition Consulting – by offering valuable information to help you: eat better, feel better and learn more about the foods you are eating and your habits.
  • Personalized Meal Plans – personalized meal plans for all needs and targets. This includes: weight loss, muscle building or maintaining. No matter your goal, we can help.
  • Nutrition / Health Writer Content Marketing Services – this consists of writing nutrition or health related articles, blog posts, article magazines for both short term and long term projects.

To learn more about the NUTRITION UP CLOSE Program, you can go here.

If you want to reach and contact directly one of the Accredited Nutrition Coaches, you can go here. 

Happy Impact Map is also interested in two other development goals and they are as follows:

Number 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth – Encouraging sustainable development in different areas (work environment, education and tourism)

Number 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production – Partnering with companies that adopt sustainable practices and educate consumers on more sustainable practices.

If you want to learn more about what Happy Impact Map is doing, you can get involved – they also encourage an active participation in the upcoming events they will host as well as feedback. If you have any questions, or if you have anything you want to say, you can also contact them using their Contact Us Form. 

“CSR  For Start-ups Program” – An Opportunity for Small Businesses to Implement CSR Strategies 

At CSR Growth, we love partnering up and supporting early projects and start-ups and we wanted to get involved and offer our expertise to the Happy Impact Map team as well. If you are not familiar with our projects and if you are a start-up or small businesses at the beginning of the road, the CSR Growth team also created the “CSR For Start-ups Program. A program designed to help startups and small, scalable companies make a difference and underline their business goals.

Our mission with this program is to help new companies enter new markets, and make their message heard by implementing CSR initiatives and practices that align with their vision.

If you want to learn more about the program we designed, here you can learn more information. It is a great opportunity for start-ups and small companies to join. 

Looking for an Analysis of your Competitors? We conduct an in depth Research and Analysis of your Competition

You’d be surprised what your competitors are up to. We know we always are. 

Many times, in meeting calls, we get asked: how do you do an in depth research of our competitors? What tools do you use? Do you find insightful information? And while we cannot sum all the answers of the questions in a few words, we have created a dedicated article so we can go over some of our insights into our Competitors Analysis service for companies and brands. 

In today’s article we are going to go over the main reasons why your company needs a more in depth review and analysis of its competitors, how this will benefit your business and how we do things at CSR Growth. To get started, we want to highlight what is the most common mistake we see companies make when they are doing a competitors analysis. 

Common Mistakes we see when it comes to Doing a Competitors Analysis

One of the common mistakes that we see is that companies or brands do not know enough information about their competitors. In best case scenarios, they do a yearly or quarterly review of their competition and they get some insights and a starting point, however, based on what we know, this is not enough.

You will find out, more times than not, based on our research and analysis that you do not really know what your competitors are doing. You know that they are there, you know their products or services, but you do not know: their strategy, next steps, price changes, website changes, their target market or audience and how their customers are currently responding to what they are doing.

Let’s take an example:

Your company is noticing a decrease in online revenue and sales coming from your PPC efforts. While this can have many reasons behind it (campaign strategy, potential tracking issues), let’s address that your competitors have changed their price on the website and they are offering a great discount.

While, in theory, this should not affect you a lot, in real life, if your product is not very differentiating, in most cases, the customers will choose your competitor over you.  It does not matter if you have a better product or a better margin, you are losing potential revenue and clients because you do not know what is happening in the market at that time. And we guarantee that this happens more often than not. 

In many cases, it is normal to see some periods with declines in performance (seasonality, changes or any other changes in customer behavior) but we know that there are many times when you are wondering why your performance declines over a shorter period of time? We bet you never thought about your competition before. Did you?

This example explains very briefly why we offer the Research & Analysis of your Competitors service. 

Now, let’s go over the top reasons why you should do an in depth research of your competitors and how it can benefit your business in both the short and long term.

  1. Helps Discover what you business is lacking

There will always be gaps to fill in any sector of your business, but doing an analysis and review of your competitors will help you to stay up to date with the latest trends, latest products, and find more information about what is important to your customers and how are their responding to what is already in the market. It’s easy to miss out the big picture, when you are focusing on the details, and a well done competitor’s analysis will help you connect the dots between what you are missing and where you are headed.  

  1. What about Sales and Marketing?

Do you know what your competitors sales and marketing strategy is? How do they get their clients? Are they present in the online world? Do they have great creatives? Do they run ads? How about Email Marketing? What’s their funnel strategy? What is the journey that their customers take to get on the website and potentially convert? What if they do not have a website? How do they reach their clients? While these questions can seem quite easy at first, they are very well put together.

These questions are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to researching and going in depth about one of the most complex aspects when wanting to understand your competition. It is not easy but it is challenging and worth researching. 

  1. Marketing Position?

When was the last time you evaluated your position in the market? Do you know how to do it? Do you think it is important for you and your business to know where you currently are positioned in the market and where you want to be in the upcoming period? Do you have a strategy in place for this?

If you answered no to any of these questions, our recommendation is to start thinking why you did not. Do you think there are aspects in your business that you are lacking? We have got you covered. Learn more about what we do. 

  1. Use your Competition to Learn

Having competitors is a great way to learn and unlearn. During the research phase you get to learn what your competitors do and do not do and this can be categorized as a learning experience. You get to see first hand, their success, their mistakes and better anticipate their next steps in order to try to be on top of their every move. And guess what? It also helps you move better in your steps. We all have to learn from each other, the question is, when do we start?

Why CSR Growth? 

As a conclusion, we are always eager to learn and help businesses rethink and re-adjust their strategy. At the bottom of CSR Growth, relies on our mission and motto : “To Reshape the Way Companies Think & Act.” We believe that it is time to run Businesses differently and to incorporate and consider all aspects of a business when making changes. In our practice, we embrace a holistic approach and we are always eager to learn more and help. We are dedicated to what we do and we like to say that it shows. 

Also, we did not touch upon all aspects that we cover in our in depth Research and Analysis Service of The Competition, mainly because this article is for reference and does not include all the aspects that we are going over and consider when working on this service. 

We have both internal and external tools that we use, as well as frameworks that help us evaluate the micro and macro picture, while also evaluating and going over the next steps that need to be taken after the research and analysis phase has been complete.