Confessions Of A CSR Rep

You may be thinking what an odd topic for a copywriter to write about.  How is this promoting any type of service they can provide?  And you’d be right to think that. This probably isn’t the perfect topic for A copywriter to blog about, but it is the perfect blog topic for THIS copywriter.

The spark for this blog came from a recent connection on LinkedIn.  Chris Roberts, Co-founder of the North Wales Dragons Community Football Team, was asking if any local businesses had considered connecting with sport to be a part of their CSR*.  This started a short but significant interaction. 

I worked for a large global corporation for 18 years before plunging into the world, the unknown and scary world, of freelancing.  There are so many things I miss about working for a business and sharing my workspace with 1,500 others:

  • A chat with the canteen staff who knew that to win me over all they had to do was give me an extra dollop of mint sauce with my lamb dinner

  • Indulging in idle chit chat on breaks, more often than not the theme of the chat would be about the latest episode of Breaking Bad.  (Sorry again to Lynne for assuming she was watching Season 4, when in fact she was still ploughing through Season 3 and giving too much away – not sure she’s forgiven me yet!)

  • Being a manager to five amazing Communication Officers, knowing their personal goals and learning what they get up to at the weekends

  • Being around others

  • Being a part of a team striving towards the same goal

  • Being the CSR representative

  • Oh yeah and the choice of tempting goodies waving at me from inside the glass frontage of a vending machine was a bit of alright too!

So, you see, I love getting to know people, understanding what makes them tick.  In return, they get to know me – hence the extra mint sauce (‘D’ya want some lamb with your mint sauce’ was the throw away comment every time the lamb dinner was on the menu).  And if only I had bothered to ask Lynne where she was up to with Breaking Bad then I wouldn’t have spoilt her future viewing. 

CSR Rep

I loved the preparation work for our CSR days, it ticked all my boxes.  I got to ask everyone what they liked doing and made it my mission to find a suitable project for us all. One year, we transformed a sensory garden into something Alan, Charlie and Tommy** would be proud of at a centre for people with dementia.  It was hard work, so you had to be up for doing an impromptu physical workout and not moan about the incessant British rain!  Bloody hell, we were soaked to the skin one afternoon!  One lady on the team had trouble with her knees so immediately thought she had got out of a day of grafting.  Think again, her role was to prepare the BBQ!  Everyone can add value and be included.

Why did I love CSR:

  • I have a thing about organising

  • I get to chat to everyone to see what they would like to do/achieve

  • I find the perfect ‘fit’ for the team after considering all available options

  • It makes my heart sing to go the extra mile – my small and amazing team joined me in getting up at 5.30am one morning to do a car boot sale to raise money for a wooden bench. The perfect accessory for the beautiful garden we had created.

From a business point of view:

  • It breaks down barriers in teams.  It’s amazing how people shine when given a different kind of responsibility.  You’ll be able to see potential leaders when you remove them from their usual surroundings.

  • Out of the office there is more chance to talk about personal stuff. Bonds are formed and friendships blossom.  When a team works well together productivity soars.

  • That person you thought didn’t like you for some weird reason is actually OK and you’ve got quite a lot in common. Of course, they like you, you just never found any common ground before.

  • You gain more respect for others when you see their hidden strengths.

  • It gets your organisation known in the community and it’s a great chance to showcase your core values.  It creates opportunities for authentic press coverage. How’s that for brand recognition and business reputation!

  • You’ll attract future staff who share the same core values.

  • Your company will gain a competitive advantage.

  • Investors are more likely to back your organisation.

My values

It’s no surprise that I volunteered for the role as a CSR rep when you look at my core values. 

  • I believe in an inclusive workforce

  • I believe in engagement

  • I believe in getting involved in the community

  • I believe in boosting health and wellbeing

  • I believe that you get the most out of people when you take time to get to know them

  • I’m a huge believer in the power of employee engagement

What does Redwood do?

Redwood stands for strength, for growth, for pride. 

Since I left the corporate world, I have helped over 30 start ups gain the awareness they need through website content, press releases, flyers and whatever else they need to raise sales allowing them to achieve sustainable growth.  It’s an absolute joy watching them build a thriving business from just a simple idea.

I’ve also helped many organisations with their employee engagement internal communications.  Investing in your people is the right thing to do, it creates a sense of belonging, it boosts productivity, morale and motivation – working towards the same goals and sharing the same values drives employees to help reach the goal with a sense of personal wellbeing.  Organisations see a reduction in illness related absence, an improved retention rate and a boost to their bottom line as a result. 

Participating in CSR days are a fantastic part of any employment engagement strategy.

Please consider two things:

  1. Consider sport as part of your CSR

  2. If you find that the only obstacle holding your company back from investing in more engagement and CSR is time, then get in touch.  Together, we’ve got this.

 

*Corporate Social Responsibility. Allowing your employees a day to do something great for the community.

**Stars of the show ‘Groundforce’ where these three celebrity gardeners would rock up while an unexpecting person was out of the house, usually on a spa day which I considered highly suspicious and transform their somewhat shit garden into one of wonder.  To jog your memory, Charlie never wore a bra.