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.

Green Incentive Products for Earth Day

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Eco-Friendly, Fair Trade Practice
The lovely evening bag (shown above) has earth-loving characteristics, including crochet detailing made from recycled plastic bags. Every one of our products helps provide a pathway out of poverty and provides valuable social programming for underserved populations here at home and for our global artisan network.

Check out these other Earth-friendly options in HHP’s Incentive Catalog.

Press Release: We Partner With The Chicago Lighthouse To Reach Incentive and Promotional Markets

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Helping Hand Rewards (HHR), a Chicago-based organization that provides business development and marketing assistance to social enterprises, has added The Chicago Lighthouse to its list of mission-driven partners. HHR is helping this important social service agency promote the wall clocks made by Chicago Lighthouse Industries-its modern manufacturing facility employing blind and visually impaired workers-to the corporate, incentive, promotional, and recognition markets.

Since 1906, the Lighthouse has been a national trendsetter in providing educational, clinical, vocational, and rehabilitation services that open doors of opportunity for people with visual impairments. Chicago Lighthouse Industries holds the official contract for manufacturing clocks for the U.S. government. In a given year, it manufactures between 160,000 and 200,000 clocks distributed around the world. The sale of this merchandise helps fund a wide array of social service programs, including the nation’s oldest Low Vision Clinic, a nationally acclaimed school for children with multi-disabilities, an innovative Legal Clinic to help combat discrimination, and a VA program to assist veterans in all 50 states.

Helping Hand Rewards was founded in 2006 by Michael Arkes, CEO of Hinda Incentives. His goal in starting the organization was to stimulate mutually beneficial relationships between businesses committed to social responsibility and social enterprises, like The Chicago Lighthouse, that manufacture and sell merchandise for the sole purpose of giving people in need the knowledge and resources to take charge and improve their lives.

“With the unemployment rate for blind people hovering around 70 percent, there is a tremendous need to support the agencies and organizations working proactively to provide training, job counseling, placement services, and employment opportunities to people with visual impairments,” said Arkes. “Organizations like The Chicago Lighthouse understand the critical and fundamental importance of giving people the knowledge and resources to be economically independent and self-sufficient rather than just giving them a hand-out.”

In addition to The Chicago Lighthouse, HHR partners with nine other social enterprises that primarily focus on creating opportunities for people to overcome barriers to employment and self-sufficiency. Using a zero-based profit structure, HHR provides marketing, business development, and distribution expertise to these partners and helps them connect with potential customers. For more information, visit www.HelpingHandRewards.org.