CSR – Corporate social responsibility and team building
In its narrowest sense, corporate social responsibility refers to activities through which a company or a business gives back to the society. In its fullest sense though, corporate social responsibility means not just what the company does with its profits but also how the money is made. It is much more than philanthropy because it focuses on appropriate management of the economic, social and environmental effects of the activities of the company on the workplace, the market, the clients, supply chain and the community as a whole. In short, CSR is an awareness of the whole over and beyond the individual self and an attempt to make a meaningful contribution towards the well-being of the whole.
The corporate practice of a giving back to the community has been gaining a lot of popularity with people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates coming out strongly in favor of such practices. However, in many companies, a large majority of employees watch these practices from the sidelines. They are just not given a chance to be a part of corporate social responsibility.
However, in the years following the recession, CSR has grown in a big way, so much so that many businesses are purposely reversing existing trends where philanthropy is deemed as the forte of the people who have the last say. There are many reasons for this volte-face.
Many companies have been faced with layoffs, dwindling profit margins and shrinking budgets. Team building events are generally quite expensive. Grappling with a weak economic outlook, it is hard to cough up a high budget event that can engage, entertain and educate employees. When a company spends money that combines training with charity, they are able to optimal use of their budgets. By combining CSR with developmental and training goals, companies get a chance to tick more boxes in their list of priorities!
Many progressive businesses are actively looking out for opportunities to embed corporate social responsibility into various aspects of the corporate culture. Thus, CSR is ingrained into different activities carried out by the organization.
Many companies are deeply aware of their social responsibilities and feel the need to demonstrate this awareness to employees as well as give them a chance to do something to help.
As a result, organizations are now beginning to hold community-based, aid-based team building events for their employees, so that employees too get an opportunity to demonstrate their sense of social responsibility. Charity events are gaining more popularity over activities such as taking attendees to the mountains for rock climbing and so on.
A number of factors must be operational to make charity events achieve everything they should.
- The cause that is chosen by the company must inspire strong vibes in team members, or must at least be in line with the organizational culture. Fortunately, there are hundreds of programs to choose from and employers may easily find the event that employees appreciate.
- The event must include all the attendees and encourage them to engage meaningfully in the activity instead of sitting and watching from the sidelines. When this happens, the event not only helps the community but also boosts the morale of participants and forges a strong bond between them.
- The event must feel worthwhile so that the activity becomes a life enriching experience that leaves an impact for a long period of time. Therefore, instead of choosing a soft training option, managers must allow attendees a chance to work with real clients on projects that really make a difference.
CSR corporate social responsibility team building events could range from planting trees to exploring eco-friendly travel options, recycling, green tips, carpooling ideas and so on.
So, the next time your organization thinks of conducting team building events, make it an event that can make a difference, to the team as well as the community you are in.