CSR and Human Resources Collaboration for Employee Engagement

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In the most recent ChangeMakers@Work webinar, presenters Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Deenah Patel, Senior Director, Employee Experience (HR) at RBC and Norma Kraay, Managing Partner of Talent and Sarah Chapman, Director, Corporate Responsibility at Deloitte Canada shared how their CSR and HR departments work collaboratively to ensure dynamic community engagement programs that enrich both employees and community. 

Employees of all ages are looking for a workplace with “purpose”, and more than ever, those employees are driving corporate-community investment.  Recent compelling statistics say that for 2/3 of employees, a company that stands for something impacts their job choice and longevity commitments (2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report; Recognizing Volunteering in 2017). With giving back having a significant impact on employees’ job choice decisions, the connection between CSR and HR is clear to employees.  So being aligned, working together, has never been more critical in companies.  

At RBC, a collaborative approach is helping ensure that individual pillars like Corporate Citizenship (CC) and Human Resources (HR) work as coordinated assets within RBC, moving to a more user-based journey for employees.  This is key to supporting their employees to be better citizens, not just better employees.

Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Deenah Patel, Senior Director, Employee Experience (HR) outlined RBC’s People Strategy and Corporate Community Connections and how Aligning Employee Experience Principles to Corporate Citizenship is helping deliver what employees are looking for.

People Strategy to support employees includes:

  • Leaders Driving Sustainable Growth
  • Exceptional Employee Experience
  • Employees Thriving in the New World of Work

Corporate Community connections consider the following:

  • Strategic Philanthropy Priorities
  • More than Money Levers
  • Engagement through corporate citizenship

A review of RBC Corporate Citizenship’s formal employee community engagement programs reinforced the need for change. In 2015, RBC launched the “Vision & Values Jam” to capture the voice of employees globally, engaging 25,000 employees over several days to help re-imagine RBC’s Vision, Values and Purpose. The Jam confirmed employees are actively involved in their communities, but in new ways not supported through existing programs.  And those formal programs were not relevant for the majority of employees. Learnings from the Jam, combined with research from HR, confirmed that employees were looking for purpose, meaning and authenticity in their community engagement experiences.

Purpose: employees no longer think of engagement as simply “volunteering” and “donating”
Action Taken

  • Digital platform for employee engagement was launched
  • Program evolution

Impact: ways for employees to express their sense of individual social responsibility and support RBC’s.

  • Learn, Act, Share framework provides ways for employees to learn about their community or cause, discover their passions and let this new knowledge lead them to the next steps that work for them.
  • Global & scalable: employees see value in a wider range of activities
  • Choice & direction: RBC providing resources that ensure meaningful experiences, scalable programs with the right mix of direction and free choice, and infrastructure to make it fast and easy to get involved.

Transform: revitalized programs, but not in isolation, reinforcing people strategy and employee experience principles

  • Community hub: better fits employee needs and lifestyles
  • Strategic program alignment: creates year-round programming to better address new kinds of community involvement
  • “Always on” approach: means continued engagement between CSR and HR

This commitment to collaborative CSR and HR approaches has opened the opportunity to think and engage employees differently at RBC, focusing on these ideas:  We care about you by showing you belong. We help unlock your potential by recognizing your talent and contribution to your work, your team, and your community. We enable you to strive for more by encouraging your pursuit of purpose.

Valerie and Deenah shared key learnings from this journey within RBC:

  • Time your opportunity: Having patience is key – find smaller more targeted ways to show the value of your idea, e.g., incubate, pilot within one business line to maintain momentum, etc.
  • Build relationships: The doors you need do not always open on the first knock – take the time to create relationships with key stakeholders across the organization. Strong fondational relationships build trust, align motivation and create space for joint ‘wins’.  Common thread is engaging the employees.
  • Walk in your partner’s shoes: Taking time to understand the goals, objectives and priorities of potential partners will help you understand where they are focusing their resources and energy. You will often find intersection points that will strengthen your value proposition with that partner and create a stronger end result for the company.

From Deloitte Canada, Norma Kraay, Managing Partner of Talent andSarah Chapman, Director, Corporate Responsibility outlined how their journey of collaboration focuses on the intersection of three important areas:

  • Talent (Human Resources)
  • Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)
  • Corporate Responsibility (CR)

The two explained how the centre of this intersection is what they call the ‘Sweet Spot,’ and the focus remains on the firm’s clients and having three important components: 

  • An interconnected strategy
  • Consistent brand and experience
  • Values/brand felt by clients/customers through their people

This approach enables Deloitte to reach their mission, ensure employees and clients alike have an exceptional experience with the firm, and influence positive societal change.  Their Corporate Responsibility strategy, Tomorrow Together is a means of delivering on Deloitte’s three Talent Value Proposition (TVP) commitments to support its people to lead at every level; to do your work, your way; and anchor an inclusive culture to unite to include

To bring their strategy and the intersection to life, Sarah and Norma shared three examples of initiatives where these Deloitte teams are collaborating for impact:

  1. Volunteering: moving from Impact Day to Impact every Day
  2. Year-round skills-based and pro bono volunteering: sustained volunteering, embedded into culture
  3. Focuses on empowering their people to develop and lead meaningful skills-based opportunities throughout the year
  4. Provides career and leadership development for their people and participants
  5. Attracting Top Talent: Deloitte National Leadership Conference (DNLC)
  6. Three-day learning conference for undergraduate students across Canada who begin to make an impact that matters even before they officially join the firm
  7. Focuses on building communication, leadership, and teamwork skills
  8. Session dedicated to solving a real-life business problem for a community partner who is chosen by the three teams collectively
  9. Leadership Development: Game Plan initiative
  10. Supports Olympic, Paralympic and national team athletes to live better lives, both during and after their athletic careers
  11. Focuses on experiencing life and employment opportunities outside of sport
  12. Skill development, mental health support, career counselling, networking and employment opportunities

As Deloitte moves forward, they are committed to staying the course and rallying an ecosystem around collaboration. They encourage organizations looking to create true impact in this space to follow a four-step journey:

  1. Build your case to help decision makers understand the importance
  2. Buy-in and Engagement is neededacross all levels of the organization, not just senior leadership
  3. Embedding into the business means including a collaborative perspective from Talent, D&I and CR in every decision
  4. Enhanced Culture and Intensified Purpose is establishedacross the organization and is the ultimate goal

Collaboration is a common value for everyone at both RBC and Deloitte. Embedding the CSR and community impact into the entire employee journey has proved to be a winning strategy. By listening to employees about the importance of community for them, how they want to participate, and how the company can make their engagement easier and responding, RBC and Deloitte are supporting employees to unleash their potential while becoming champions of change in their work and in their community.

For more Corporate Citizenship resources, click here.

Access the Webinar recording here.  

For information on upcoming webinars in the ChangeMakers@Work series or to register, click here.

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