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PSR 246Beyond CSR - personal social responsibility 

Salesforce is a leading suppler of software globally that integrates a company's customer information in a single platform. As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, they have a non-profit organisation like many other companies. Theirs is called works to get technology in the hands of nonprofits and education institutions so they can connect with others and accelerate their impact. As a social enterprise, the more missions their technology supports, the more they are able to invest back into innovation and communities.

In addition, they encourage all entrepreneurs and their companies to commit at least 1% of their resources (product, time, and resources) to support integrating philanthropy into their business from an early stage.

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As Marc Benioff, CEO states, "The business of business is improving the state of the world."

Allied to this, they have a concept beyond CSR called personal social responsibility (PSR). With the PSR model, employees drive their own social good footprint and the employer follows their lead. Employees are empowered to help drive social impact and determine where their time and money should be spent.

For example; donation matching programs allow employees to support causes they personally care about while companies match their gifts, pro-bono services encouraging employees to volunteer for their community organizations on paid time.

This is right on trend. The 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study found that 64% of Millennials will not take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values and 88% say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues.

So how can we innovate to encourage personal social responsibility?

Some ways have been suggested:

  • Ask employees to state their preferences regarding company donations by giving them a shortlist of organisations to allocate points to. It lets employees lead values and culture and creates ambassadors of your social good messages.
  • Report on the impact of your corporate giving – what you have achieved, what you hope to achieve collectively and what is your workforce’s participation in that impact. 
  • Provide access to networks and platforms that bring diverse stakeholders together to help solve challenges
  • Issue a challenge to employees to get involved with a local issue/charity over the next month - not just give money and ask them to share their experiences
  • Match employee donations
  • Allow x paid days off per annum for volunteering - especially with organisations that receive donations.

You can't just leave it to the CEO and the CSR department - engage the workforce in improving the state of the world.

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Geoff Knott, 24/01/2018

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