Big Quit, Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, Talent Shortage... Are you familiar with these terms? Probably. In the last few months, the world of Human Resources has officially entered an unprecedented era, reversing the traditional balance of power between recruiters and recruits.
In order to adapt their employee retention strategies, companies are focussing their efforts in terms of CSR and QWL actions to try to recruit better and retain more employees. Because it’s no secret: the search for a sense of meaning at work has become central - if not the number one criteria - for many people.
However, let's get straight to the point: listing solidarity actions without a real strategy will not create more meaning for your employees. It is important to first correctly define your corporate mission and your values. Solidarity actions will then give concrete proof of these commitments, and will make you a committed company.
So….are you ready?
As experts in the field of commitment, we give you 10 ideas to engage your teams around solidarity actions as well as tips to make you stand out.
Corporate Solidarity Action: definition
A corporate solidarity action is the mobilization of a company's workforce around major societal challenges (environment, equality, inclusion...). Both the company and the employees are extremely appreciative of these solidarity initiatives!
Why should you organize a solidarity event within your company?
Organizing a solidarity action within your company means being part of the organizations that take concrete action - beyond words. It is also a pleasant opportunity for your employees, as 90% of them say they want to take action (according to a study conducted in France by Day One and the IESEG School of Management). However, only 22% of solidarity actions implemented by companies are perceived as "concrete"!
According to this same study, HR managers set up solidarity missions in companies to:
- encourage commitment (68%)
- reinforce the company's values (55%)
- respond to employees' search for meaning (49%)
According to a study conducted in 2021 for Carenews, actions related to education and employment get the most media coverage. Next come charity actions, environmental action followed by actions related to health or culture.
On the employee side, the main motivations are:
- the desire to feel useful (74%)
- to give meaning to their daily lives (48%)
- development of skills (29%)
Moreover, 3/4 of the employees who took part in a solidarity action in their company say it had a positive impact on the social climate of the organization and that it helped to strengthen relationships between colleagues (Ifop survey, 2020).
How to choose which causes to support?
According to a recent French study conducted by Wenabi, companies choose which causes to support based on:
- their business sector and CSR strategy (75%)
- the annual solidarity and CSR agenda (53%)
- the desires and concerns of employees (28%)
Most popular causes supported by companies
According to the same study, the most popular causes supported by companies are education, vocational training and employment (education of young people from underprivileged backgrounds, integration of disabled people and help in returning to work...).
Secondly, there is what is called "social action": For example, distributing meals to the most underprivileged or exchanging with them in order to counteract isolation.
Finally, environmental actions are the third most popular causes in companies. As the environmental crisis is increasingly heard, it generally raises great waves of mobilization in companies.
10 ideas for solidarity actions in companies
1- Recruit internal ambassadors with gamification
As you probably know, the search for meaning is a fundamental value for employees today. According to a survey conducted by IFOP in 2022 for France Bénévolat and Recherches & Solidarités, 36% of French people volunteered last year (in an association, directly, via a town hall, their company, etc.), compared to 27% in the pre-pandemic period.
As a company, you should definitely follow this trend by recruiting true volunteer ambassadors among your staff. By doing this:
- You give resonance to your commitments
- You respond to a global desire to be more involved
- You increase the loyalty of your employees by giving them an additional framework to develop their skills
To reward and motivate your ambassadors, you can set up a gamification system (points, rewards...). More and more popular in companies (and in society as a whole), gamification aims to make taking an action more fun in order to encourage the commitment of the participants.
The mechanisms (directly inspired by the world of video games) are :
- scoring (which ambassador will organize the most actions in favor of his/her cause?)
- status (gold, silver, bronze...)
- the notion of a mission (24 hours to collect a maximum of waste in a street/park/beach...)
2- Challenges to raise awareness
More and more popular in the professional world, corporate challenges allow to engage teams around a common goal. The perfect way to:
- promote your corporate values
- organize special events
- promote group cohesion
A challenge can be organized to raise awareness of a specific cause, or to raise funds for a charity.
For example, in March 2023, the members of United Heroes will be offered a specific challenge in relation to International Women's Day.
The aim is to raise awareness around the harassment that some women experience during their running sessions, which often may lead them to stop altogether.
To change this and give visibility to the cause, United Heroes encourages its users to move for the cause and to show their support.
To give visibility to specific themes, United Heroes customers can opt for special operations. According to important events (national, international days...), our "User Engagement" team sets up creative concepts to engage the teams.
Head of User Engagement @United Heroes
3- Organize a donation drive (technical equipment, clothes...)
Organize a big donation event within your workplace and give the donation to an association or charity of your choice! Beyond being a good citizen, this action is generally considered as very practical by the employees.
The organization is relatively simple:
- decide on a cause (clothes, shoes, toys...)
- set a date and a location for the deposit (a meeting room, the cafeteria...)
- organize the donation drive with the association of your choice (the Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, …)
Are you interested in spicing things up a little bit? Opt for a barter party and allow your employees to exchange clothes. A great way to strengthen ties while giving a boost to the circular economy!
4- Participate in a charity race between company departments
Who doesn't like to win?
Organizing a charity race between departments is the ideal way to bring your teams together as one. Marketing and accounting professionals, senior decision-makers and trainees, head office teams and regional entities... For the duration of the event, everyone contributes equally to help their organization win and raise funds for a cause.
This is the very principle of the H-GAMES: the annual competition to give visibility to paralympic sports and change the way people think about disability (in partnership with the French Federation of Handisport).
The idea is to push yourself over the span of 20 days! By doing physical activities (running, cycling, hiking, weight training...) and wellness activities (yoga, walking, meditation, gardening...), the employees accumulate points on the United Heroes application. The company having accumulated the most points over the given period will collect a maximum of donations for the FFH, and will be awarded beautiful rewards to be won by its teams.
5- Offer a warm home to those in need
Have you heard of the association Les Bureaux du coeur? The concept of this association is revolutionary: to appeal to the generosity of company directors in order to make their premises available at night and on weekends to homeless people or those in great need. Thus, these people can enjoy a moment of security and rest in highly equipped, resourced and heated premises.
Annie Favier-Baron, president of the association, adds: "The idea is not that the homeless arrive when all the employees have left and leave when they arrive in the morning. It is also to spend some time with them, to offer them a coffee and perhaps to help them to create a resume...".
A (very) concrete help generally greeted unanimously, proud to see its company showing such a commitment.
6- Make a Climate Fresk
Since 2018, the association Climate Fresk aims to embark all people and all structures in the transition, promoting the dissemination and understanding of climate change.
The promise of Climate Fresk is clear: in 3 hours, this collaborative workshop makes people understand the essentials of climate issues to take action. Based on a specific animation method aiming at mobilizing collective intelligence, Climate Fresk allows all audiences to take ownership and understand the issues of climate change.
It works in a simple way. In teams of 4 to 8, the employees have cards representing the different components of climate change. By working together, they find the links between cause and effect by linking these components together.
7- Rewarding soft mobility
We sometimes call it soft mobility, green mobility, sustainable mobility or eco-mobility... Whatever the term chosen, the use of alternative transport to traditional and polluting modes - such as walking, cycling, rollerblading... - is increasingly supported by companies.
Indeed, this is a concrete way to reduce your company's carbon emissions and to reinforce your structure's competitiveness by improving its QWL.
In order to encourage as many people as possible, initiatives are flourishing, such as the sustainable mobility package (FMD) in France. This measure aims to pay an allowance to employees who use public transport or soft mobility for their home-to-work trips and back.
You can complement this measure with more incentives, such as :
- creating challenges to encourage teams to cycle to work
- offering self-service bicycles, rollerblades or scooters
- offering rewards to drivers who carpool...
Did you know that United Heroes allows its users to see in real time how much CO2 has been avoided thanks to their efforts in terms of walking and biking. A great way to promote sustainable mobility by challenging your teams!
Picture: Ross Sneddon
8- Offer a donation on salary or round up salary
In France, nearly 25% of companies make financial donations. As a company, you can make donations directly to associations or charities - this is also an opportunity to survey your teams to find out which associations they would like the company to give to!
More and more organizations are also offering their employees the opportunity to round up their salary by reducing it to the nearest euro (or the amount of their choice) for the benefit of an association.
This approach, which is easy to set up, makes it possible to raise awareness of the association's missions and to encourage commitment to a common cause. The employee can change the amount of the rounding or suspend the donation at any time.
9- Supporting young people in their professional integration
To fight against social exclusion and promote equal opportunities, many French companies have decided to set up a mentoring or sponsorship system.
Employees can then guide and advise young people in their schooling and their integration into the professional world (writing resumes and cover letters, looking for an internship or a job, preparing for interviews, etc.).
For young people (refugees, people in precarious situations or people with disabilities), it is a first step in the world of work and a unique opportunity to be accompanied and to build a network. For your talents, becoming a mentor allows them to develop their sense of pedagogy and to transmit their skills.
10- Organize awareness sessions
Awareness sessions are essential tools to spread messages on key themes and to engage employees in the application of good practices daily.
There are many formats: webinars, conferences, meetings... Don't hesitate to choose fun and collaborative formats, such as workshops or games. These participative approaches encourage commitment and strengthen social and intergenerational ties between employees, all in a friendly atmosphere.
You can also organize the visit of one or more inspiring personalities to share their extraordinary journey, their experience and their vision of the world. This is an excellent way to encourage your teams to adopt a different mindset and to carry out actions with a positive impact.
Artists, top athletes, adventurers, renowned scientists, CEOs: the profiles and fields of specialization are varied. It will be up to you to select (possibly with the help of a specialized agency) the appropriate personality according to the theme you wish to highlight.
There are of course many other concepts. But with these 10 ideas of solidarity actions, you already have enough to set up a coherent social agenda and initiate good practices.
Moreover, by communicating about your solidarity events (both internally and externally), you highlight your company's values and attract new talent more easily. You are thus entering a virtuous circle where everyone wins!
Photo credits: Climate Fresk
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