10 Internal Engagement Principles for CSR Initiatives

Make no mistake, CSR participation starts at home, within the organization. Getting employee buy-in and engagement is critical to the overall success of any CSR initiative, says Jack McFadden, director of corporate responsibility and internal communication at Deloitte. "CR/sustainability must be embedded into the fabric of the organization," says McFadden. "There should be top/down and bottom/up engagement."

As one of the chief architects of Deloitte's successful Greening the Dot initiative, McFadden also believes employees need to know their personal impact on CSR initiatives, recommending interactive "one-to-one communication with real-time results." Here are McFadden's 10 internal engagement principles:

  1. Stress the importance of any level of participation—lots of small steps can have a big impact.

  2. Make it painless (no long surveys) and fun.

  3. Include activities with near-term completion satisfaction.

  4. Spread the praise…everyone gets credit.    

  5. Make it opt-in/opt-out (self-accountability). You can’t create enthusiasm for a program that's forced on people.

  6. Be credible; never over-promise.

  7. Use technology as an efficient enabler—it's cost effective and pervasive.

  8. Encourage participation through interactive feedback mechanisms.

  9. How you communicate can be as important as what you communicate.

  10. Collaborate with other existing engagement elements.

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