We talk a lot about the importance of corporate social responsibility, because it’s kind of a big deal these days. With the world becoming more interconnected, it’s easier to become more socially aware of the problems we’re all facing, and to become more concerned about what we can do to help. That’s why CSR programs have taken off with companies – not only are they great for employee engagement, but employees that know their employer cares about larger causes are more satisfied in their work!
Today we wanted to take a quick look at a company that’s a prime example of CSR in action: Lyft. The ride-sharing app announced in March that it would be introducing a program called Round Up & Donate, which will allow riders to round up their paid fares and donate the extra cash to a charity from a predetermined list. It’s currently active on Android devices, and though it may seem like a small thing, the numbers can add up – plus it sends the message that Lyft cares about being socially active.
This isn’t the first CSR effort by Lyft – in the wake of the airport protests in January, the company announced it would donate 1 million dollars over four years to the ACLU. This also helps distinguish Lyft in a sea of competitors, namely Uber; Lyft has successfully been able to “newsjack” the conversation away from Uber to show what Lyft does right by comparison. At those same airport protests, Uber made the news for raising its rideshare rates and for not speaking out against unfair immigration practices; Lyft took a stand by doing the exact opposite.
What can we learn from this? If you’re an HR decision-maker at a company large or small, it’s definitely worth exploring what a corporate social responsibility program can do for you and your staff. If you’re looking for an edge when it comes to retaining socially-conscious Millennial and Generation Z talent, then take a page from Lyft’s book and make CSR a central part of your company’s core values.
For one, instead of instigating one-off programs or doing a single CSR campaign and then forgetting about it, start to make CSR an integral part of your company’s business plan. Focus on long-term plans like payroll giving and regular workplace volunteering days (why not give employees a couple free days off every year for volunteering?). It’s also worth looking into corporate gift matching programs, which allow for your employees to potentially double their donations to worthy causes.
Bringing in a CSR program is twofold in value: Not only is it motivating for your staff, but it can also differentiate between your company and its competition. Take a look at what your competition is doing in terms of CSR and figure out how you can do it differently, and better. You could even subtly weave this into a marketing campaign, as Lyft did against the beleaguered Uber.