Microsoft’s Success in Communicating its Corporate Social Responsibility to Employees
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In any given business, how the company communicates both internally and externally is very important. During strategic organizational changes that will affect how the company conducts its operations, carefully considered communication may be the only differentiating factor between success and failure for all the stakeholders of the organization. This study aims to evaluate and analyze the organizational communication strategy of a major US company.
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The corporation I have chosen to examine is Microsoft, in which I discuss how the company’s corporate social responsibility communication strategies have helped the company in implementing its guiding principles on Business and Human Rights.
According to an article by Erin Ehrlich, “Microsoft: One of the Best at Communicating Philanthropy Opportunities to Employees,” which discusses how innovative communication processes have helped Microsoft Corporation achieve some of the best CSR ratings and reputations. According to Ehrlich, the main reason the company has been successful in communicating its CSR initiatives is the way it manages to showcase how simple it is to get involved in donating to NGOs, which has managed to encourage most of the company’s more than 30, 000 employees to participate in the program. Ehrlich also argues that Microsoft uses regular communication as well as visual signage and emails from co-chairs throughout its Employee Giving Campaign (EGC) to encourage and remind its employees of the program and its importance to the wider community.
In his article, Ehrlich notes that Microsoft as an organization, has been successful in its philanthropy initiatives partly due to how the company communicates its efforts to employees. The article begins by showing how Microsoft, during recruitments, usually informs new employees how they are entitled to a $50 charitable donation that they can offer to a nonprofit of their choice. Apart from making it easy, this modest step encourages most of the company’s employees to start and continue being philanthropic as they continue to work for the company. The author then proceeds to provide evidence of how Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts have achieved tremendous results since the launch of the program in 1983, in which he reveals that the company, through joint contributions from the company and employees, have managed to donate more than $1B to nonprofits through its corporate giving programs. He then goes on to confirm that Microsoft is the leading company when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility, with the company’s employees alone having donated more than a hundred million dollars to over 19, 000 nonprofits in 2013 alone.
The article then moves on to discuss some of the innovative communication strategies that Microsoft has implemented in the past towards influencing its employees to participate in its corporate giving programs. Besides making it easy for employees to participate in the programs, Ehrlich also notes that the company has implemented other communication strategies that continuously reminds employees of the programs and the need for them to donate, such as eye-catching posters that are used to show how Microsoft’s giving is simple. Microsoft also uses internal communication strategies such as publishing encouraging statistics of its donation programs within the company that encourages employees to get involved. The author notes that the company’s efforts to create awareness as well as educating the employees is the first step, that is also very important in getting the employees to participate in such programs. Ehrlich concludes by looking at the company’s employee volunteer program as part of Employee Giving Program in which they serve as chairs of the programs within their desired organizations through Microsoft’s Giving Campaign Loaned Professional program. In his final remarks, he notes that Microsoft over the years has managed to become a leader in communicating with employees about the several ways and opportunities they can use to contribute both money and time to local and international nonprofits and charity foundations.
Ehrlich’s article is one of the several articles that praises Microsoft’s effective ways of communicating to employees the need for philanthropy. The company’s communication strategy is driven by the management’s passion to make a difference in the world, which in most cases, usually leaves with certain resource gaps Alves (2015). This means that, even though they have the desire to do good, the company alone may not always be able to afford how to achieve the desired goal. This why is why the company shifted its focus to its vast number of employees that are certainly uniquely positioned to provide the needed assistance both in terms of funds and time. Besides, Microsoft communication strategy is also a way of showing leadership, especially in showing how the business community can have an impact on the nonprofit world, which is likely to encourage other companies to take the same steps Wang et al., (2016), which I believe has great positive impacts on the company’s management. Moreover, the high ratings and good reputations that Microsoft has received due to its excellent CSR ratings are likely to boost the company’s image based on its observed core values Isaksson et al., (2014). This will go a long way in helping Microsoft develop a strong brand following among dedicated consumers as well as its customers who are environmentally aware.
As witnessed in Microsoft’s case, I believe it is important to implement communication strategies that reach and touch employees wherever they are. This should involve measures such as not limiting communication to one and then letting it drop, but rather trying to reach throughout the organization, wherever they might be in their work day. Another important step is the integration of career sustainability from the moment an employee is recruited. From their first day at work, employees should be provided with a complete overview of the company’s sustainability plans and efforts, including making it easy for them to be updated on new information and changes. It is also important to routinely show progress by showcasing the company’s results from various programs. Lastly, it is also important to provide meaningful incentives when trying to encourage employees to participate in a certain program or providing feedback.
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