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Employee engagement in CSR in Bulgaria

Highlights from a survey commissioned by CAF Bulgaria

August 2010

Background to research
Aim
The aim of the study was to gain an overall understanding of employee engagement with and participation in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes run by companies in Bulgaria. Particular areas of focus included; types of CSR programme, level of activity or participation, barriers to running or participating in projects.

Methodology
The study focussed on medium and large companies (mostly from banking and finance, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, energy and fast moving consumer goods). From a base of 46 companies, a total of 154 in-depth interviews were conducted, 46 of which were with managers based in Public Relations, Human Resources or CSR departments and the 108 with general employees. Fieldwork was conducted in October and November 2009 by ALPHA Research.

The 5 types of employee CSR engagement
1. General volunteering (outside of working hours) including activities such as planting trees, repairing and decorating, improving the urban environment. 2. Working overtime and donating the earnings; this work is usually paid double or even triple-time. 3. Fundraising through payroll giving, collection boxes or donating proceeds from sales etc.; this activity often increases around holiday times like Christmas and Easter. 4. Participation in national volunteering schemes (mainly blood donation) facilitated or supported by the company. 5. CSR incorporated into everyday company behaviour, e.g. recycling, cycle to work schemes, reducing electricity consumption.

The 2 Bulgarian company approaches to CSR
1. CSR connected to the company’s business, for example manufacturers supporting consumer protection; car and transport companies supporting road safety. 2. CSR not necessarily connected to the company but popular with the public and “in fashion”, for example, cleaning up waterways, planting trees, painting and repairing children’s homes.

Popular causes and activities
The research found that the top 3 causes to support were ecological, social housing and improving the urban environment. The most popular ways to support such causes included buying products from which proceeds are donated, making donations directly (from fundraising activities or charity boxes for example) and volunteering activities inside or outside the company.

The majority of companies organise volunteering programmes
54% of companies had organised a volunteering programme in the past year. Some of those which had not done so said that they had run such programmes in the past. 70% 60%
% of companies

50% 40%

54%
30%

46%
20% 10% 0% Organised a volunteering programme in the past year Did not organise a volunteering programme in the past year

Base: 46 companies

60%
% of companies which organised volunteering programmes

50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Members
Base: 46 companies

56%

35%

Of those companies which had organised a volunteering programme, 56% were in a business network.

Not members

50% of companies have more than 30% of employees volunteering 50%

40%
% of companies

30%

50% 44%

20%

10%

6%
0% Less than 30% 30-60% More than 60%
Proportion of employees participating in volunteering programmes Base: Information from 46 managers

The most active participants are men aged 30 to 50 and holding middle management posts. There is a sharp fall in participation among people over 50 years of age; these activities remind them of “Lenin Saturdays” and they see them as “compulsory volunteering days”. Younger employees (under 30) have a more positive attitude towards such initiatives, but due to a weaker identification with the company, or to personal commitments, they take part less than the middle generation.

Over 50% of companies organise volunteering to engage with employees Employee involvement is part of company strategy
33% 21% 14%...
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