Digital learning and CSR - sharing the values and strategy
20th December 2016
For millennials in particular, companies having commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability is an expectation, and strong performance in these areas can support recruitment and retention. So, sharing your CSR values and achievements is not just about reporting to external stakeholders. Whether your focus areas are on environmental or social priorities, climate change or supply-chain welfare, communicating your CSR activity internally is an important aspect of delivery. Including it in company newsletters and intranets is one thing, but having its own digital learning campaign drives awareness and supports ongoing commitment.
Clear and consistent core messages
But despite the growing business involvement in CSR and sustainability, the teams responsible for integrating these activities face some specific dilemmas when getting the messages across. Often there is no clear or simple definition of terms such as sustainability or CSR, which leaves them too open to misinterpretation. The details can get complex and a core connection to why it is good for business can get lost. So rather than presenting tangled information awash with jargon, it is the main concepts and values that will help employees to not only understand the principles, but become ambassadors of the strategy.
Allow participation, add interactivity
The core benefits of digital learning work particularly well for CSR and sustainability campaigns. Delivering consistency across global teams, it remains flexible by incorporating participation and interactivity, and it can be designed with the language and tone of a company’s internal culture. Creating this foundation of understanding around a company’s CSR values can then help teams relate to the specific responsibilities of different departments and connect to the details in company reports or policies.
Connect to the business case
To succeed in sharing these messages at scale, CSR campaigns benefit from including the business case context, with a sense of openness about facing some tough challenges. Everyone needs to understand the vision so they can make more sense of what they as individuals are expected to do to achieve success, for the company as well as the planet. Each company should demonstrate its unique CSR story in relation to the brand, the business results and the global implications. Creating that sense of connection and collective action brings everyone on board to understand that sustainability is vitally important for the business. When sustainability managers often need to create enthusiasm and encourage participation in order to achieve results, the motivational aspects of a digital learning campaign are crucial.
Coca-Cola: Ambassador Hearts Challenge
As one example, Coca-Cola (employing more than 25,000 people in Western Europe) has an ongoing Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability programme, supported with an engagement week to help its employees become confident Ambassadors for the brand values. But outdated elearning and inconsistent classroom training was leading to mixed messages and lost opportunities. A flexible, fun and consistent approach was needed to reach and engage the entire European workforce. Sponge created the Ambassador Hearts Challenge - a fully-responsive, online learning experience complete with a leaderboard based on a series of quizzes that injected some friendly competition and recognition.
Line up with the big picture
Making people think about the environmental and social impacts of the decisions they make, with an alignment to a common cause is important for success. Sharing those CSR values and strategy is the first driver of employee engagement. Without understanding that bigger picture, the call for engagement will lack a focus. Employees need that clear line of sight to their role in achieving the overall vision.