9 ways to engage deskless workers in CSR 


Your social impact program is one of the best ways to engage all of your people — including those who are working retail, in warehouses, in the field or otherwise not at a desk. And there are a ton of benefits to making your program inclusive to these workers, such as an increased sense of belonging and a more cohesive, connected company culture where people want to stick around. 

All it takes is a bit of strategizing to make it happen! Here are nine ideas you can use to engage more of your deskless employees. 

1. Embed Goodness into your onboarding

Showcasing your CSR and DEI programs during the onboarding process makes an immediate and lasting impression. Not only will you boost engagement, but you’ll be making a big impact on your business overall — data from the Benevity Talent Retention Study shows that companies see a 52% lower turnover among newer employees when they participate in purpose programs.

Tip: Kickstart new hires involvement in your CSR program with a volunteer opportunity during orientation or by seeding their giving account with currency for them to donate to a favorite cause.

2. Use tech to remove barriers

Deskless workers often feel that they don’t have the time to give or volunteer, but using technology, like the Benevity mobile app, can make it easier for them to participate regardless of location and in ways they work for them.

Plus, you can make doing good ever easier by utilizing features like payroll giving. It makes giving faster (and even automatic!) and Benevity Impact Labs found that enabling this feature was the second biggest driver in employee giving programs! 

Bonus: Consider how you can also utilize existing tech to enable deskless employees to participate in your CSR program. Through the use of employee badges or other ways you currently track your employees' time!

3. Make volunteering inclusive

Inclusivity in volunteering means redefining what it means to volunteer. Opening your program to include acts of kindness (i.e. activities not connected to a specific nonprofit that support community and wellbeing, like delivering food to neighbors or participating in wellness exercises) is a great way to allow more people to participate. 

Consider offering paid time off for volunteering, or partner with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to highlight chosen nonprofits. Or, host learning sessions with nonprofits where employee participation counts as volunteer hours.

Want to see acts of kindness in action? Read this story from Benevity client, USAA, who enabled one million acts of kindness! 

4. Leverage location managers or people leaders

Communication is key in bridging the gap with deskless workers. Managers and team leaders play a crucial role in sharing information about CSR and DEI initiatives — and encouraging their teams to participate. Make sure these key contacts have all the information they need. 

Tip: The Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP) emphasizes the importance of involving senior leaders in recognizing social impact contributions from individuals and teams. It helps people feel a sense of pride and develops connections across the company.


5. Get creative with communication

Tap into your existing communication channels like newsletters (whether digital or printed) to reach more of your people with opportunities, campaigns and even inspiring stories that share the impact their peers are making. 

Seriously! The printed word can still be so powerful, so consider printing flyers to post in high-traffic areas and include QR codes so employees can get involved, or get more information — on the spot.

Bonus: If you have ERGs you can provide members with swag like t-shirts or hats. They’ll love the gift and it will help spread the word when they wear their new gear.  

6. De-silo CSR and DEI 

CSR and DEI are the perfect pair! Collaborate with your counterparts to find out what they’re planning and see how you can work together, or amplify the work of ERGs to create more impact. Not to mention these joint efforts can lead to more inclusive volunteer opportunities and enhance the visibility of important causes.


7. Empower ambassadors

You likely already have some deskless workers who are engaged in ERGs or love to give back in other ways through your program. They can help serve as program ambassadors if you provide them with the tools and information they need to spread awareness and drive more interest.

Tip: Keep a direct line of communication with these folks, whether it be monthly email updates, in-person team huddles or even create a dedicated space (like a bulletin board) to share initiatives. 

8. Make employee resource groups accessible

You can make ERGs accessible to all of your people, regardless of their job type or location by recording meetings or events, hosting them in-person locally, or offering virtual volunteering opportunities.

Ultimately, it will help you create a greater culture of inclusion and belonging and allow more people to participate in your program in personally meaningful ways. 

9. Reward all that Goodness!

It always feels nice to be recognized for the good that you do, but rewarding employees for participating in your program will help you engage even more people. Not everyone has the means to give, but you can consider rewarding them with company swag for the time they spend volunteering or seeding employee accounts with donation funds. Then, they can go on to donate those funds to a nonprofit they care about or one that aligns with your company pillars, creating even more impact. 

With the right strategies and ideas to experiment with, creating a program that’s inclusive and engaging for all of your people, including deskless workers, can become second nature — creating even more positive impact for your business and the world.