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Home / Resources / CSR: Why training during onboarding is the solution

CSR: Why training during onboarding is the solution


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) just went to the top of the global business agenda.

The main theme at January’s 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos was “responsive and responsible leadership”. How to do business and make society fairer for all was the number one talking point among the business and political leaders who attended.

Founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, outlined the responsibilities business leaders must accept and deliver on. And he said:

“Leadership always comprises stewardship for the world as a whole – holistically taking care of humankind and nature… The reality is that the future offers humankind many opportunities for healthier, greener, more fulfilled and peaceful lives. It is incumbent on all of us – working together – to improve the state of the world. By exercising responsive and responsible leadership, we can make this possibility our reality.”

Taking up the theme, in her speech to the forum, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she wanted the legacy of our time to be “to use this moment to provide responsive, responsible leadership that will bring the benefits of free trade to every corner of the world; that will lift millions more out of poverty and towards prosperity; and that will deliver security, prosperity and belonging for all of our people”.

CSR is here to stay

CSR is no fad, quite the opposite. As Susan McPherson says in her article, 6 CSR Trends To Watch In 2017: 

“In the past decade, we’ve witnessed a stunning transition as CSR evolved from a nice-to-have silo to a fundamental strategic priority for businesses large and small. As we embark on 2017 — a year that’s likely to be fraught with political uncertainty and policy upheaval – the big question for CSR is: what happens now? Like many of my peers, I predict that under new challenges and changing regulations, companies won’t just uphold their commitments to sustainability – they will be at the forefront of global progress like never before.”

Corporate social responsibility isn’t just for the big players. It’s for every single business. Here’s why.

Two reasons why CSR really does matter for you

First off, trends are telling us that talented young employees want to work for companies that have a commitment to CSR and are spurning those that don’t. A 2016 survey by US-based non-profit organisation Net Impact suggests that CSR is part of the workplace package employees now expect and desire.

This attitude is most prevalent among younger people. In the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, 62% of millennials said they would take a pay cut to work with a responsible company. This is probably the most important statistic of all because by 2020, millennials will make up half of the workforce.

Secondly, Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report found that 82% of survey respondents believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage. Your company’s culture – and CSR can play a big role in that – has a real bottom line element. The report concludes:

“Culture cannot be delegated—it must be on the CEO’s list of top priorities”

CSR training that has global impact

An onboarding programme is a great opportunity for you to inspire employees with your commitment to CSR right from the outset so that they feel proud to be part of your organisation. CSR training as part of the induction process not only shows potential employees you are a desirable place to work, it also gets all new starters in tune with your CSR values.

But how can you make your training so that it’s engaging and consistent throughout the entire organisation?

Digital training is particularly effective. It utilises engaging tools and ensures the learning is consistent and reaches everyone. And, because it can be localised, it is relevant and meaningful to employees irrespective of where they are in the world, so that it means something to them.

UK-based Specsavers is the world’s largest privately owned optical and hearing company with 30,000 employees in 10 countries. The challenge it faced was that each territory was duplicating onboarding with its own face-to-face training. The company was also missing an opportunity to excite new starters about its values.

We worked with Specsavers to create a consistent global online induction which can be accessed before day one. The programme is used by 5,000 new starters each year.

When it came to values, our creative team used motion graphics, games & gamification and responsive elearning to create a programme that engaged the learners by linking virtual with real. Employees are able to explore the company’s worldwide activities via an interactive 3D globe animation. The ability to select their region on the globe allows them to feel the course was made for them. As they progress through the module they earn a digital coin that goes towards a charitable donation on completion. The technology allows them to see their donations build in real time.

Through this training, Specsavers are able to communicate the company’s CSR values and it also illustrates to each individual the role they can play in corporate social responsibility. By linking virtual tools with donations to real life good causes, the learners were immediately engaged with CSR. Better still, 71% of the new employees surveyed said they had started the course before day one.

But the CSR training shouldn’t stop at induction. It should be ongoing so that existing employees remain engaged. Here’s an example of how to keep it fresh.

Coca-Cola European Partners employs more than 25,000 people in Western Europe and has an ongoing Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability programme. The challenge was to upskill staff in a fun and engaging way so they were more confident value ambassadors.

We came up with the Ambassador Hearts Challenge, a responsive online quiz of 2-7 minutes. Right answers win hearts, with totals over 25 added to a Europe-wide leader board. The number of hearts per country was converted into a monetary value and donations made to charity.

Get in touch

Contact us to talk about incorporating CSR training in the onboarding or ongoing training programme at your organisation.