Micah Carlson, Director of Marketing, Convergint Technologies
Convergint Technologies (www.convergint.com) is a $1 billion global company that provides security and life safety solutions to customers from a range of industries across the world. We are a service-first, people-first business, and that includes service to the community, which our co-founders prioritized in our mission.
Our corporate social responsibility program started small in 2001, the year we were founded, and now spans our entire business in 116 offices across the globe. Highlighting our CSR program is Convergint Social Responsibility Day, held annually in June, where we close for a complete working day and our colleagues volunteer in their communities.
Last year we launched our STEP Up for Schools program as part of our CSR efforts. We recognized a need in under-served schools that had more exposure to risk and harm to students and faculty, and we knew we were in a unique position to change that. As part of this program, we provide no-cost security upgrades to schools who would otherwise be unable to afford them, which helps the community and also links to our corporate mission.
It would be easy to cover the day on our website and stop there, but we communicate STEP Up and Convergint Day year-round. To link a business mission to CSR, it’s important to consider it as one of a company’s key messages. Here’s how we do that:
CSR is not a top-down exercise; the most successful programs start at the grassroots level.
Engage your employees to get involved early. Our colleagues select projects or schools to support on a local level. That ownership allows our business message to tie directly to CSR in each local market. We provide signage, apparel and hashtags, and encourage them to share what they are doing via their personal channels.
Capture the activity.
We assign colleagues to document the day’s activities, which provides us a cache of images to utilize throughout the year.
Communicate with intention.
Don’t leave it to chance that clients colleagues, and others make the connection between your CSR program and your business objective; be purposeful about how you communicate it. We actively schedule and include our CSR program news to appear every week in our newsroom and on our corporate social platforms.
Use every channel, and then some.
This includes sales presentations, speaking engagements, talent recruitment, board presentations and more. We present CSR as a key value across all channels, not just in our newsroom. Communication of your business purpose should be done through any and all conduits.
It’s been easy to link our business message to our CSR program, and anyone can do the same. If you are a small team, start now, so it becomes routine. If you are a larger company, identify all your channels and weave it through what you already do. When people think about CSR success stories, they often think about Ben and Jerry’s, Allstate or Patagonia, but small companies can be equally successful in designing and activating a CSR program and showing the outcomes.
Don’t be afraid to make the jump! The only bad CSR programs are those that have yet to launch.
About the Author: Micah Carlson is the director of marketing for Convergint Technologies, where he oversees all communication channels for the service provider that integrates technology to solve security, fire and building system challenges. He joined Convergint in 2016 when the company acquired his longtime employer Dakota Security Systems, Inc.