Hello, I’m Brian Kurth with Revere Skills-based Volunteering Software. Welcome to 3 Tips in 3 Minutes for CSR Leaders.
With me today is Carolyn Berkowitz, President and CEO of the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP).
Thank you for having me, Brian.
We look forward to your 3 Tips, but first, tell us what ACCP is all about.
Sure. ACCP is an association that companies can join. We support CSR and ESG professionals and help them accomplish the work they already do—even better.
We share knowledge and foster solutions, but our differentiator is that we build a community of colleagues that people can stick with and learn from throughout their careers.
Outstanding organization. And we’re thrilled you’ll be hosting your conference later this year in Denver.
And what is your first tip today?
Tip number one is to advocate for including one question about CSR or your work in communities in an all-employee engagement survey. Why do this? You need to have data of your own to share that shows how much your work affects retention, satisfaction, and engagement. It affects employee loyalty and amplifies meaning.
It can be something like, “Do you feel good about the work our company does in the community?” or “Do you find meaning in our company’s community work?”
Then you cross-tabulate that with the engagement drivers and, you will have compelling information about a stakeholder group people care about.
That’s awesome because one thing I’ve learned is that there are no two companies alike. Every business has its own culture.
Absolutely. And there is a lot of research about why this works and that it’s valuable. But when you couple that generic information with your own company’s data, you make the point in a way you could not otherwise accomplish.
And point number two.
Build a network of champions around the business who understand the business value of your work and how it contributes to your program. Then they can do the hard work of engaging others.
Start by getting them involved to experience the passion for themselves, so it is genuine and authentic. Then be sure they understand how this work they love helps them achieve business goals.
So how does it help the business, how does it help the employees, and how does it support all the things you learned about in the survey?
By doing that, they become influencers in the company. Be sure these people come from different functions, ages, and peer groups to tell your story across the company.
You need the stakeholder leadership at the top, but then you can drive engagement from the C-Suite down to the associates level. But, it can also come from the associate level up.
Correct. And associate level up matters now. Employees are using the employment market to be very clear about the kind of company they want to work for. There are lots of statistics I can share with you.
Tip number three.
You need to know and understand ESG and DEI to climb the leadership ladder. All the letters are different and nuanced differently.
CSR is not dying. People ask me all the time, “Is CSR going away?” It is not.
Top jobs are broadening in scope to include one or both functions. It’s changing quickly, and companies expect leaders to have a working knowledge of the CSR, ESG, and DEI disciplines.
Know the language, understand why it’s essential, and know the recent trends. The relevance of CSR isn’t changing, but leaders must understand how these critical issues overlap and work together. The top jobs are not going to CSR alone now.
Leaders must have broad experience as these three critical issues, CSR, ESG, and DEI, overlap and work together. Then that person has grant makers, volunteers, and managers underneath.
Thank you so much, Carolyn, for your 3 Tips in 3 Minutes.
How can people get in touch if they want to contact you?
I’d love to work with people, or if listeners are already working with us, let me know you heard this conversation.
Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you at your October conference in Denver.
Carolyn Berkowitz, President & CEO
Carolyn Berkowitz joined ACCP as President and CEO in July 2018. She is a nationally recognized corporate social impact leader who has guided nonprofits, foundations, and Fortune 500 companies to solve for complex social issues and realize their greatest impact. Under her leadership, ACCP has grown its corporate membership by 20% and introduced new programs, research, and partnerships for corporate citizenship professionals on topics including racial equity, ESG, and benchmarking.