How to: ESG & CSR Staff engagement program

In ensuring the opportunity exists to report on the progress of staff engagement programs, it is essential to set an engagement baseline. A staff survey is one method to assess, measure and report on staff awareness on an annual basis.

Herewith a guide to initiating a survey to set a baseline and reassess levels of awareness and motivation each year. The design of the questions is very important and should follow a pattern from one year to the next. Questions may change to reflect the most relevant issues of the time, but they should also clearly echo previous surveys, so comparisons can be drawn.

STEP 1: Design a set of CSR/ sustainability questions to canvass staff in the following categories:
a) Awareness: Questions to test knowledge on CSR, climate change, cost of resources, social impact issues etc
b) Motivation: Questions to establish current practice, both at home and in the work environment (use a scale, for example 1 to 3, with 1 being “I always do [the suggested action]” and 3 being “I never do [the suggested action]”)
c) Ideas for a more sustainable organization: open text, asking for ideas, challenges, requests etc.
Ensure questions are straightforward, and keep them interesting by using images, multiple-choice answers etc. Questions should be worded so that answers also inform the staff engagement section of the CSR Communications Plan.

STEP 2: Deploy survey and receive responses
Request support from departmental managers to help distribute and encourage completion of the survey (during working hours), and set a deadline for responses.
Encourage online completion of as many surveys as possible, both to speed up data collation and reduce resource consumption. For employees without access to a PC during their working day, set up a PC/tablet station for completing the survey online and/or make paper surveys available.
Design a suitable ‘prize draw’ to encourage completion of the survey. Make the gift sustainable and something everyone would appreciate (to ensure that not just a section of staff complete the survey, skewing results).

STEP 3: Analyze results
The first survey will establish a baseline against which staff awareness and motivation levels can be assessed annually, using similar survey processes.
Results can be plotted on a quadrant graph, calculating each respondent’s average score for awareness against his/her motivation.
The aim of the CSR Communication and Partnerships will be to move all staff into the ‘Engaged and active’ quadrant. This can be achieved through increasing awareness; as individuals understand more about the societal gains, environmental factors and cost savings of sustainability and CSR measures, they are more likely to become motivated to act. One or more of these areas of knowledge is likely to be of interest to all individuals, thereby increasing motivation and moving staff in the desired direction.

Want to be involved and do more for CSR but need more information: “Ready, but puzzled”
Understand what it means to act in accordance with CSR, and are doing so: “Engaged and active”
Don’t understand how to act in accordance with CSR, so are not doing so: “Perplexed, so immobile”
Know the issues but don’t want to do anything about it; hardest to reach: “Clued-up, but reluctant”

STEP 4: Present and utilize the results
All answers to the questions and the overall survey results should be presented to staff, along with the outcomes. It will be valuable to include feedback on how the information will shape (or has shaped, if relevant) the CSR Communications Plan (namely the staff engagement section). The result of the survey will provide an overview of where staff feel they need information and what information they can supply toward the overall CSR program. Methods of distributing results include:

  • Internet and internal webpages (intranet)
  • Posters
  • Emails
  • Presentations by managers at team meetings

If a prize draw has been offered, conduct the draw publicly and share the name of the winner/s internally through a ‘news item’.

STEP 5: Repeat the staff survey each year, to assess, report, present and learn from the outcomes of the staff engagement section of the CSR Communications Plan.
Note: A similar method may be used to assess the awareness and motivation of staff and the community environmental issues.

Staff AwarenessArticle: Staff engagement program