America's Charities | February 26, 2015

Lack of CSR & Employee Engagement Program Alignment Can Hinder Your Growth & Success

I look forward to Fridays. Not for the obvious reason working a 9-5 M-F. It’s the day I start getting excited about my Saturday routine. It’s the one day that I look forward to the clock striking 5:00 p.m. so I can start implementing and preparing for my weekend routine that begins with prepping two water bottles with electrolytes, wiping off my cycling shoes, and laying out my cycling outfit in anticipation of joining my cycling friends on Saturday morning for a 50+ mile bike ride. We meet at various locations, discuss the route, pit stop locations, riding style and then take off into the early morning breeze. However, it would be impossible for me to have a successful ride climbing hills, zooming around corners and maintaining my cadence if I did not have a good strategy in place.

In preparation for the Saturday rides, I take a very focused and educational cycling/spin class on Tuesday and Thursday evening. Without the training class, I don’t think I would have a very successful outcome on the 50+ Saturday rides with my cycling group. The instructor is an expert in the field of cycling and I trust his words of wisdom, knowledge, and leadership. Each class is a great learning lesson that I take with me on the rides. My preparation for the Saturday ride does not stop with the spin class. I begin hydrating myself on Friday, loading up on carbs and protein, and getting plenty of rest Friday night (ruling out a night on the town if I want to be successful).

In the beginning and before consulting with a cycling expert, there were times on the bike rides that I could barely make it to the middle elevation of a climb because I exerted too much energy on the flats, wasn’t knowledgeable of my cadence and relaxation point, nor did I understand the various levels of my chain ring and cassette (and how to use them), which is important knowledge to have for cycling success.

Hills appear to be mountains when you are not well prepared.

How Cycling Preparation Correlates to CSR/Employee Engagement Success

If you do not prepare your CSR and Employee Engagement plans properly, when it comes time for implementation, your “plan” will become a burden and your program will not live up to its full potential. As with cycling, it’s important to learn from the experts “how” to cycle so that you are successful and reach your goals. I was not aware of the various parts of my bicycle just as some people in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Employee Engagement are not aware of the various strategies and tactics necessary for program growth and success.

I have spoken to many coordinators and managers within CSR/Employee Engagement teams that admit their pain point with their program is due to a lack of alignment with the company’s overall CSR and philanthropic efforts. That is unfortunate because without proper alignment, you are hindering program growth and success. It’s the same as when I first started riding.

I purchased my Fuji bike and began riding the next day. I was not aware that it would be best for me to get aligned properly with my bike so I could ride to my full potential. Prior to the alignment, I struggled. It was hard to ride the distance and my neck would hurt to the point that I could not finish the ride. What I set out to do did not pan out to my expectations. I had no idea the issue was an easy fix until an expert cyclist fitted me to my bike (aligned with my body measurements with that of the bike). After I took their advice, wallah! I am more comfortable, I ride better, stronger, further, and I feel great afterwards.

You can have the same “ah-ha” moment and success with your CSR/Employee Engagement program once you have met with an expert for proper analysis, alignment and best practices recommendations. Cycling is and should be a fun sport just like CSR/Employee Engagement should be a fun way to create a company culture resulting in greater employee satisfaction, community involvement and company growth.

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