High Value vs. High Redemption: Why CSR products need to be in your assortments

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Picture this scenario… It’s time to renew an R&R program with one of your best accounts. They are a mid-sized company and you have been doing business with them for five years. HR and upper management have supported the program overall but have seen a downturn in engagement and feel it might be time for a change. Why?

Some seismic shifts in everyday business have taken place over the last several years. It seemed like it happened overnight, but the seeds were planted more than a decade ago, and when it took root it grew like a Redwood. That tree was Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR).

There are so many branches of CSR, but let’s focus on our opening scenario. The workforce has changed over the last five years. Millennials have taken over the workplace landscape (By 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce.) and are more engaged in social issues and the world around them. Although on a smaller scale, this awareness has also influenced the Gen-Xers and younger Baby Boomers, as well. This new workforce is seeking out companies who have a measurable CSR footprint, which in turn, has led to said companies spending thousands, if not millions of dollars to attract and retain this talent in tandem with their CSR initiatives. Companies are aware that 75% of millennials will take a pay cut to work for a company that practices CSR as a core value. Let’s face it, they realize it’s good for their bottom line.

So, to recap. A long-standing customer with a change in its workforce and a softening in its engagement program. What’s missing? That’s right – CSR products in the assortment you’re offering them. Now, this is where it can get tricky. There may be an option, for example, where the participants can donate their points to a charity of their choice. That’s nice, but there is nothing tangible for the participants after reaching the goals set out in their respective program. They still want “stuff.” They want something that rewards them for their hard work and to show to their peers how their hard work paid off. And while selfless, there is no measurable way to acknowledge or celebrate this deed.

This is where CSR products come into play. Products that give back 100% to the artisan groups or social enterprises that produce them. Products that tell a story, support a stated mission, and make the participants not only feel good about redeeming for such a product, but also that management decided to put these products in their assortments. Enhancement of engagement programs with CSR initiatives reduce turnover by 50%. They feel good about their workplace and help reinforce what the program is supposed to do in the first place.

These products also have a high value as a closing tool for opening new accounts, as well as renewing existing ones. Your clients have put so much time and money into their CSR initiatives and don’t realize they have a glaring CSR hole when it comes to their incentive product offerings. You are helping them close that gap, while creating an opportunity to reengage their employees with the introduction of a new product segment that is meaningful.

Jim Wersching is Director of Sales for HHP/helping hand partners, a non-profit supplier of Goods That Do Good™, with an insight into the incentive world.