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Connect DEI & CSR to Save Time & Improve Outcomes

Joel Pollick
Posted by  Joel Pollick on Apr 8, 2021
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are now must-haves for businesses of any size. And while distinct programs, the two have a symbiotic relationship that will save time while improving outcomes for the countless businesses just now formalizing (or launching) either (or both).
4 minute read
Defining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
DEI is a company’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace. Also key: it leveraging the effects of diversity achieves a competitive business advantage. (Source)
Defining Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 
CSR (aka social impact, workplace philanthropy, etc.) is a company’s mission, strategies, and practices to support dual objectives--benefiting the business and society. (What the heck is CSR?)
The Symbiotic Relationship Between DEI & CSR 
Think of their relationship as defined by mutualism: both parties depend on one another, and both benefit from the alliance. 
How This Relationship Between DEI & CSR Can Save You Time While Improving Outcomes
These programs are different for every company, for good reason. There are, however, some best practices you can employ to build that connection between these two critical programs. What’s also nice is that the action items below can be helpful beyond simply connecting and enhancing existing programs; they can also be useful if your company is newly building DEI or CSR programs. 
Use some or all of these, and please contact our team of experts for guidance or questions!
  • Employee Surveys - Ask employees what they care about most. You can download our Passion Assessment Lite to make this easy; this is the first step we take with our customers to customize their social impact program for these reasons:
    • Makes your program more employee-driven, which leads to far better engagement and inclusion 
    • Provides invaluable insights into what they care about most + how employees want to give back
  • Audits - Conduct a baseline DEI audit of your CSR program: 
    • Nonprofit Partners - for any nonprofits your company has formal partnerships with or simply for any nonprofits your company supports (donations or volunteering), what % of their mission focuses exclusively on underrepresented communities? Is their Staff & Board diverse and representative of the populations or communities they serve? 
    • Impact Measurement - look back at the positive social outcomes your program creates and apply a “DEI lens” to that impact measurement. How does your positive impact filter across gender, race, sexuality, and socioeconomic status? How does your program participation filter across the same criterium for your employee and/or customer base? (note: do this analysis with historical data, then update your impact measurement accordingly moving forward; the purpose of this is education, not judgment, so if your historical data looks bad use it as a lesson, not a loss)
  • Collaboration - If you have regularly scheduled review meetings for either/both programs, consider merging those into one broader review meeting. Doing this should not harm your focus on either individual program, but it will provide a useful collaboration space for thinking about and identifying impactful connections between the two.
    • C-Suite to ensure the programs are properly resourced
    • HR and/or People to ensure a continuous connection with employees
    • Marketing to ensure you are communicating these critical programs 
    • Engineering or Operations to ensure these programs have effective measurement
  • Management & Stakeholders - Review who is involved in the major strategies and decisions of these programs. At a minimum, you should have representation from these core groups:
  • Employee Choice - If you have a CSR program in place, our research suggests looking critically at whether that program is inclusive vs. exclusive. As a test, can you answer “yes” to this question: Does our CSR program offer each employee choice? (e.g. can employees support the causes they care about most or only certain, maybe company-sponsored, causes?)
The action items above should have provided you with at least a couple of new learnings that you can implement in your organization right away. And know that Percent Pledge is here - you don’t have to do it alone or hire full-time employees to do it right. 
Want to learn from a panel of industry experts? Check out Percent Pledge's webinar on May 13th providing company leaders with practical tactics on uniting their teams around DEI through social impact.
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Joel Pollick

Written by Joel Pollick

Founder & CEO @ Percent Pledge. Expert in workplace giving, volunteering, and employee engagement for fast-growing companies.

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