The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities across the globe. It has not only disrupted the socioeconomic landscape but also wiped out years of economic development. On an individual level, the pandemic has completely changed peoples’ perceptions of the world. It has forcibly nudged everyone into reinventing the way they live and work.
However, the world is coming back to normalcy. Slowly but surely. The new normal calls for better health safety measures, increased responsibility towards the environment, and most importantly, helping those who suffered more during the dreadful lockdown.
The Two Sides Of Impact
For the fortunate ones, the lockdown meant working from home, online classes, and spending more time with their families. Their finances did not dwindle beyond alarming levels. The lockdown simply meant a slight change in their lifestyle.
For the other side, the unfortunate ones, the lockdown was a rather grim reality. People lost their jobs, and sources of earning, and their livelihoods took a huge hit. Millions of people who were rendered homeless as a direct consequence of these changes were hit the hardest. As economic activities came to an abrupt halt, many people were left without a way to make a living. To say that they require active support from society would be an understatement.
Social Responsibility & Emerging Empathy
Hearteningly, governments, corporates, and nonprofits across the globe have sprung into action, rethinking the way they can alleviate some of this damage through social responsibility initiatives. COVID-19 served as a wake-up call to organizations that started to actively look at how they can give back to society without violating social distancing norms.
The urge to contribute to the welfare of society was apparent in many organizations and individuals. People became more empathetic and were willing to put their best foot forward to help those in dire need. All this, collectively, contributed to a changing CSR approach.
Emerging Trends in Corporate Social Responsibility Post Covid-19
The new normal has brought with it a new face of CSR, volunteering, and sustainability. Organizations are continually thinking of new innovative ways to create opportunities to further their CSR activities and march towards sustainable growth. Here are a few examples:
- Ensuring Diversity in hiring
The pandemic has been an eye-opener in terms of how we can do business just as well, remotely. Organizations have turned this into an opportunity to attract a more diverse workforce. Especially enabling women (who are more prone to take a career break to juggle responsibilities at home) and the physically challenged (for whom commuting to the workplace has always been a challenge).
Organizations can bring together CSR and D&I. This helps in creating a positive work environment where every employee wants to contribute to business growth as well as sustainable development. When CSR and D&I go hand-in-hand, employees get a new sense of belonging and contribute to any social cause.
- Improving the Carbon Footprint
With the majority of organizations embracing remote work culture, employees no longer needed to commute to their workplace. This resulted in a considerable reduction in traffic and carbon dioxide emissions. With employees returning to office and the shift to hybrid work, implementing small changes could well help us reduce the demand for fossil fuels and create a cleaner and greener tomorrow. Below are a few more recommendations for organizations and employees -
- Encourage employees to work from anywhere
- Educate them about the zero-waste policy
- Utilize sources of renewable energy
- Reduce in-house energy expenditure
- Switch to smart LED lights
- Educate the workforce about their role and importance in creating a sustainable environment.
- Focus on employee engagement
Employee engagement and motivation are the factors that every organization wants to improve. CSR in the post-Covid era can be a great way to get your workforce motivated and engaged. Here are some effective practices to improve employee engagement with CSR activities:
- Prioritize local initiatives: If you address the issues faced by local communities, you are likely to get more passionate engagement from your employees.
- Involve employees in decision-making: Ensure every employee feels heard and validated. Taking their input and understanding their point of view will make them feel more involved in the entire process.
- Involve employees in volunteering programs: Volunteering is a great way to ignite employee engagement, satisfaction, and team bonding. This will help increase productivity and workplace engagement along with personal growth and development.
Goodera partners with corporates to create social impact and provide an end-to-end solution to manage employee volunteering programs.
- Constantly communicate your CSR projects and goals: Helping your workforce understand your CSR projects and the objective behind the idea will help you know the cause and participate more keenly.
- Give wings to employees’ ideas: Encourage your employees to submit ideas for CSR initiatives. This enables employees to be more involved and choose the CSR activities that are closer to their hearts.
Suggested read: Effective Strategies for Evaluation of CSR Projects
- Innovation and technology in CSR after Covid-19
Let’s face it. CSR will never be the same again. Technological innovations have transformed the way we live, communicate and work. This transformation has also extended to the way organizations conduct CSR activities in the post-COVID era.
Organizations are now turning to tech-driven ways to maximize their CSR impact for a hybrid workforce. The world is engaging in dialogues on employing technology to enable impeccable CSR, volunteering, and sustainability initiatives. The focus is on adopting technology platforms that facilitate:
- Clear and consistent communication to ensure stakeholder alignment across the engagement lifecycle (ranging from nonprofits to employees)
- Use of AI and analytics to make data-driven decisions
- Meaningful insights to monitor the progress of every volunteering activity
- Tracking of budgets and finances in real-time
- Effectively maintaining an audit trail for compliance needs
- Transparency across the volunteering lifecycle
Suggested read: Technology- A Game changer in Corporate Social Responsibility
The COVID-19 pandemic has surely brought CSR to the forefront.
Corporates, both large and small, have risen to the challenge and augmented the government's efforts to further strengthen their strategies. Hopefully, the same zeal and mission mode orientation will carry over to activities beyond the pandemic.