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Charitable giving: providing a platform for employees to give back

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Charitable giving: providing a platform for employees to give back

Charitable giving: providing a platform for employees to give back

As an employer in the hospitality industry, it can be hard to find the time to allow your employees to give back in some way. Schedules and rotas are tight enough as they are, without factoring in charitable causes.

Profit tends to prevail; even if you know you shouldn’t think about corporate social responsibility (CSR) in terms of revenue. Because it can be difficult to draw a correlation between CSR and income, you make the decision to either forgo charitable giving or throw the odd cheque in the direction of a worthy cause.

However, in our experience at HGEM, many employees crave volunteering opportunities; being given the time to give something back to a cause they care about. That should be enough for employers to make CSR – if not a priority – something that they actively look to develop further in 2020.

CSR efforts can boost productivity

CSR efforts — such as sustainability initiatives, corporate foundations, employee volunteer programmes, and donations to charity — can be important tools for attracting and motivating employees.

Research has shown that various forms of prosocial incentives (workers get rewarded not with money, but with the firm engaging in some act to benefit society) increase productivity, retention, and even lower employees’ wage demands.

Now, you could argue that it’s gauche to tie CSR efforts with productivity and profitability – and you’d have a point – but when you’re operating in an industry as competitive and time-poor as hospitality, you can’t help it.

CSR initiatives do more than boost productivity and retain and attract talent. They can bring people together in a business whose paths wouldn’t normally cross during the working day, allowing unlikely friendships to blossom. Volunteering also has unique intrinsic benefits that can’t be found elsewhere. As The Mental Health Foundation, puts it: “Doing good is good for you".

In other words, your people reap the rewards just as much as the charitable beneficiaries. And as we all know, your people are your business.

Making CSR work for you

The key to developing your charitable, philanthropic side is to make it work for you. Every business is different, so while there’s no one-size-fits-all CSR model, these principles have served HGEM well in our charitable efforts:

· Keep it local: For CSR to work for us, we knew the charity had to be local and accessible. Not only does that make it easy for our staff to help, it also feels like we’re giving back to the local community.

· Seek some structure: This follows on from the previous point – to facilitate a CSR initiative, you need somebody who’s prepared to manage and proactively pursue volunteering opportunities. Without that structure, it’ll quickly fall by the wayside.

· Provide a range of opportunities: From employees’ point of view, volunteering has to work with their work schedule. So, make sure there’s lots of different opportunities to help. Some people might only be able to give up a couple of hours; others a whole day.

Communicate with the whole business about opportunities that are available and celebrate the successes. Sharing where money has directly gone or allowing individuals to share their experiences is really important.

We’ve been working with the Genesis Trust – a charity “offering hope, support and a future to homeless and vulnerable people in Bath” – for just over a year now. Our staff have done everything from serving goods in the food bank to picking up and delivering furniture to those people who need it. The Trust knows that they can just call us up at short notice and there’ll be somebody willing to lend a hand. If we can help we will.

I’m proud of all their efforts and its wonderful to see so much kindness from all of our fabulous colleagues.

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