Five Principles to Improve Your CSR Efforts

gr-ksr-report-1As we prepared our third CSR Report, which published today, I found myself reflecting on just how far we’ve come since Ketchum embarked on a journey to make a difference in our communities, and  the lessons we’ve learned along the way. It also made me think about what we intend to do in the future to ensure that our words and actions matter. After all, when you are traveling down the road to your destination, you rarely wonder how far you’ve come; rather you measure your trip by the distance that remains.


Our commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) originally began as a local, mostly informal endeavor. Then in 2007, we were really taken with how socially-minded our colleagues had become, and how no large PR firm seemed to be making corporate social responsibility a core part of its brand.

During that same year, as our efforts to engage our employees in CSR activities gained momentum, we formalized our Ketchum CSR program calling it KSR, or Ketchum Social Responsibility. Nearly nine years later, I’m proud to look back at how much has been accomplished and at the same time acknowledge just how much more we want to do.

As we mark this milestone, here are five principles that remain front and center to our KSR program at Ketchum, in the hopes that they are helpful to you (click to tweet).

1. Ask your employees what they think.
Our KSR program began with a survey of all staff to find out what they thought was important. That survey revealed that our employees rated education and children as their top causes. It led to the selection of Room to Read as our pro bono partner. We continue to survey our employees today to ensure our overall program is on track.

2. Tap into your employees’ passion.
Embrace their ideas, encourage them to take the lead, and ask them to volunteer where needed.

3. Keep your CSR program fresh.
Continue to add new areas to your efforts and assess whether those that you have underway still make sense. Some of our team members have introduced health and wellness initiatives for the agency, and we’re looking forward to determining what makes sense to roll out firm wide.

4. Tell your employees about your efforts.
CSR can be a huge source of pride and engagement. Give your employees an opportunity to not only contribute but to learn what others have done.

5. Measure how far you’ve come.
Document what you do and track your progress so that you have something tangible to report and, more importantly, to build on.

Recent Ketchum employee survey results showed that 78% of our employees see us as being committed to CSR as compared to 17% in 2007—an incredible jump. While we are certainly thrilled with our progress in a relatively short period, we are already focusing on what we can do in the future to ensure that our words and actions matter and that 100% of our employees see us as committed to CSR, perhaps the best indication we have that we are helping make a difference in the world.

As we continue on our journey, our hope is that KSR becomes even more engrained within Ketchum’s culture, and that everybody who works here is touched and inspired to roll up their sleeves and contribute to making the world a better place.