AmCham Slovakia


Employees as a key to meaningful CSR

It is no longer true that an employee cannot participate in company policy. Today, there are many opportunities for employees to engage their potential and help not only their company, but also themselves, their colleagues, and, in particular, the surrounding environment.

Companies can support the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR activities), but if the company does not have employees willing to support this concept, to build and participate in it, little will be achieved.

CSR activities are mainly used to build a “good reputation” in society, such as by supporting hospitals, protecting the environment, providing technical equipment to schools. It is a matter of importance for a company not only how it is perceived by society and its customers, but also how its employees perceive it.

We need to be sure employees don’t suffer from burnout. This starts with employees thinking - I am an employee, in the morning when I go to work and also in the evening when I come from work to my family. Sometimes we postpone changes until tomorrow, and then again until the next day, time goes by and we realize that we have not made any improvements. Finally, we begin to suffer from burnout.

Routine corporate work can be the problem. However, today there are so many ways to help and engage employees. Companies are starting to provide support to their employees mainly in internal activities, but also for their free-time activities.

Corporate volunteering is becoming more prominent as a form of assistance and team building. Nothing motivates employees as much as the feeling of work well done and the feeling that they have helped. If employees engage in volunteering together, it is also helpful for getting to know each other.

CSR activities such as environmental protection, cooperation with the local community (with local non-profit organizations) is about more than just providing financial donations. People often do not like to give money due to a lack of trust. People want to know what their money was actually used for. When corporate employees engage in CSR activities, they can see the outcome of their own actions, which can further motivate them to take part in non-business CSR activities and volunteering.

Both the company and the employees need to be involved in CSR for it to be a success. Employees can help to start CSR activities at their company at their own initiative by organizing a collection, presenting the activities of individuals, cooperating with a local non-profit organization, and selecting a project on which they will jointly participate with others.

The economic, social and environmental sphere gives companies a broad scope in which they can engage their employees in CSR activities. A systematic approach to CSR activities helps business strategies and the creation of business value.

Involvement of employees in company CSR activities increases employee loyalty, which brings the company a long-term sustainable competitive advantage. It is important to choose the activities and values of the company to be in line with the personal and ethical convictions of its employees.

One of the options is to create responsible stakeholders of the company. These can be selected among the management, employees, but also customers, suppliers, or the public. This combination will create an even more competitive advantage for the company. Greater involvement of the community may help to develop the business of the company. Good reputation of the company can also boost the interest of employees as well as customers.

Through its CSR activities, the company helps its employees, its community and the company itself. The company has employees with expertise that can be applied to public service activities to educate citizens of all ages, bring practical experience into the student environment via lectures at schools, engage in environment protection, help women and children in need, award grants to non-profit organizations, involve employees in corporate volunteering and many other activities.

It’s important to change the employee’s viewpoint from “I am an employee, in the morning when I go to work, and also in the evening when I return from work to my family” to “I’m an employee, I’m part of a company, I’m part of the community I live in”. We need employees who are not indifferent to their social environment. Via CSR activities, employees can help themselves as well as their community and company.

As Henry Ford said: “One satisfied employee will do more than three dissatisfied ones”. 

Martina Gajdošíková, Junior, Tax Department, VGD Slovakia