Top tips for engaging employees in your CSR programme

BITCI News - Members News - Jul 29, 2013

bitcWorkTogetherOne of the issues that we in Business in the Community Ireland most frequently address with our member companies is how best to engage the hearts and minds of employees and internal stakeholders in CSR programmes. Many companies struggle with finding ways to engage the wider employee base in energy saving or volunteering programmes. It can be challenging to build and maintain momentum for initiatives year on year. This article aims to provide you with some useful tips and resources for engaging staff and implementing corporate responsibility programmes effectively in your organisation. is an online toolkit designed to help create and run successful staff campaigns on green issues.  It is based around Defra’s environmental segmentation model and has lots of really useful resources and ideas included in it. It is supported by research to help you understand your employee’s opinions and attitudes to green issues and outlines clear steps on how to roll out engagement programmes. We recommend using their fantastic free survey  to help you classify employees based on their knowledge, attitudes and understanding of green issues (classify them on a scale from “cautious participants” to “waste watchers”).

We also recommend the Big Green Bundle’s Matrix of Impact reference sheet. It outlines a summary of all the resources available and their likely impact on your employees based on the survey feedback. It suggests a number of activities under the following headings:

  • Recruiting helpers- creating a champions network
  • Encouraging activity at home (
  • Transport (including bike/share sharing, driver training, ‘carrots and sticks’)
  • Using the web (social media, website links)
  • Getting messages across (posters, energy facts, in-house presentations)
  • Organising events (Responsible Business Week, CSR calendars)
  • Competitions and quizzes
  • Work policies (waste management, home working, tele-conferencing)
  • Other resources e.g. walk round checklists, lists of low/no cost ways towards green, questionnaires
  • Case studies on topics such as green ambassadors, recycling and waste, increasing cycling, working from home

bitcBlackboard Further tips and Resources

  • Try to reward, celebrate, persuade, charm, nudge or challenge colleagues rather than nag
  • Engaging on CR at a strategic level is key for success
  • Inspire the board- ensure buy in and be make sure they feel that the programme is something they really want to do
  • Talk their language- use relevant KPIs, targets and metrics, refer to risk, reputation, compliance, return on investment and business cases
  • Align the programme with the organisation’s vision and goals
  • Set a clear action plan and programme or activities
  • Engage staff from the start– involve staff at the inception of programmes and look for ways to involve ‘champions’ and to leverage all possible latent enthusiasm and goodwill for CR programmes that exist within the organisation. Involving new recruits and graduates in the programme can be a great way to inject ambition and enthusiasm.
  • Reward good behaviour- even simple tricks like putting sweets on the desks of staff who have turned off their monitors can help
  • Communicate regularly and creatively- look to cover a range of media such as staff newsletters, e-zines, internal noticeboards, internal screens, notes in payslips, even backs of toilet doors can prove useful for conveying key messages!
  • The Carbon Trust have a bank of downloadable stickers and posters for energy saving tips for staff
  • Do a quick walk around checklist of the office to identify ‘quick wins’ and areas to focus on
  • While events  like Responsible Business Week and the launch of the Business Impact Map can be great to focus activities and profile good practices and achievements try to ensure that communications are consistent and regular
  • Include information on your CR/ green/ sustainability programmes as part of all new colleague inductions
  • Include SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) CR/Sustainability targets in all colleagues performance objectives-starting at the top of the organisation.

This useful guide looks at engaging employees in climate change. It examines:

–   Leadership in employee engagement

–   Employee motivation

–   Harnessing employee creativity

–   Communicating to employees

–   Measuring employee engagement

–   Employees as the hub of engagement in the home/ workplace/ products and services/ customers/ suppliers/ community

–   Case studies with experience of employee engagement

Employ a range of tools for measuring the success of employee engagement including, but in no ways limited to:

–   Carbon footprint analysis

–   Cost savings

–   Employee engagement surveys

–   Behavioural analysis (e.g. # driving to work, volume of waste diverted from landfill)

–   Number of champions identified


Business in the Community Ireland can help you  to plan, roll-out and measure successful CSR programmes that engage employees. If you are a member, please get in touch with you account manager for more information. Alternatively if you are interested in becoming a member please contact Nathalie Pavone