During a cold November night, you wouldn’t expect the CEO of Samsung U.S. to be out on a New Jersey street bundled up and shivering. But that’s exactly what Tim Baxter did to raise funds for Covenant House, a nonprofit that helps homeless children. With Baxter’s help, the organization raised nearly $500,000 for this cause. Baxter’s good deed is the perfect example of corporate social responsibility, and you and your team can give back in a similar way. In fact — you absolutely should.
Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, particularly applies to the holiday season because it means taking some time away from focusing on making a profit and making an effort to give back. While this is popular for the holidays, it deserves a regular presence in your company — and it’s up to you as the leader to set the tone and encourage your employees to get involved.
Here are some tips for getting involved in your community and giving back:
1. CSR helps you lead by example
Take a lesson from Tim — you have to personally participate in volunteer or fundraising events. By demonstrating your interest and passion in supporting a particular cause, you are leading by example and your team will likely follow suit. Demonstrate a determined work ethic and focus, and it will translate well back in the office.
2. Promote cross-departmental teams in this effort
This is a great chance for employees who do not normally interact with one another to become acquainted. If the situation allows, pair up employees that seem to be on opposite ends of your organization- creatives and customer service reps, marketing with sales, even executives and window washers.
This will actually benefit your company in the long run by promoting an overall sense of unity and help breakdown any silos and communication barriers.
3. Don’t be overly concerned with PR
Some leaders participate in corporate social responsibility activities as an obligation, because it is expected that companies should give back. They flood their social media channels with photos, videos, and blogs to explain how nice they were to help out, which is fine from a PR point of view.
Here, the focus is on the task and the good you are doing in helping people. In fact, Tim Baxter didn’t want his good deeds to be public knowledge for quite some time. Remember that you are helping out real people and strengthening your team in ways that can’t be done inside the walls of the office.