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Corporate Social Challenges

What do "social challenges" mean?

Social challenges do not refer to social problems or challenges that are difficult to solve at the political level, for example. Instead, social challenges are specific tasks with concrete objectives that employees have to complete within a certain time frame during their daily work, either individually or in groups.

Such a challenge would be, for example, to come to work without a car for a week or to take care of a certain number of plants in the office rooms, etc..

A challenge can also last just one day or a whole month. Such challenges offer a great opportunity to introduce employees to new ecologically or socially sustainable practices in their daily work in a relaxed and possibly even funny way.

On the other hand, corporate goals in the area of social commitment or sustainability can also be supported in this way and the active involvement of employees in this can be promoted.

Where do "social challenges" come from and what are they for?

"How can I establish sustainability practically and even with pleasure or exciting incentives in my company?" This is a question that quite a few team leaders, CSR managers (Corporate Social Responsibility) or HR officers ask themselves. Hence, the idea for Social Challenges in companies, which is not new in itself, may have been born out of it.

Habits determine our everyday life more than we think! To be exact, about 30-50% of our actions day in and day out are based on habits according to social psychologist Bas Verplanken. That's quite a lot, isn't it? Whether at work, at home, or recreationally on the go. Changing patterns and habits is no easy task. Neither as an individual and even less in common with many different views and routines. It takes longer than a week to change habits, that makes sense.

But many challenges are not very long-lasting - so what's the point of it all? Well, if you don't start at all, you won't achieve any changes. In this sense, the Challenge is not a revolutionary concept, but rather an important kick-off for the introduction of new routines and, if done well, also a team-building measure. The point is to break out of the familiar. Once this has been achieved, the difficult start has already been made!

What makes a good Challenge?

1 Clear goal and impact setting
Which topic needs to be changed? Where do we need new routines and in which areas of our employees' daily work do we have realistic and effective potential for improvement? What or how much participation and impact do we want to achieve in this Challenge? In the case of a Vegan Day Challenge, for example, it should be clear what is to be achieved with this measure and what level of participation is to be targeted.

It makes sense to think about these questions before initiating a Challenge.


2. Making sense
Speaking ofsense. I'm sure we're all familiar with this phenomenon, at least from our school days: people generally put less, if any, effort into things that they don't see any direct sense or advantage in. That's why it's very important to emphasize the good purpose and the personal added value of a challenge when introducing or carrying it out. With the Vegan Challenge could be thematized asp for example the animal welfare and the own health. However, it is often important (see self-optimization) not to fall into a moral apostle role.


3. Measurability
A Challenge, even if it has been a lot of fun, is of no use to anyone if it is not possible to see afterwards what the whole thing has actually achieved. On the one hand, we are talking about the personal benefit of carrying out the Challenge. This should be perceptible by itself at the end of the Challenge and should also result from the exchange with colleagues. On the other hand, it is important to make the positive effect achieved visible in a sustainable or social context.

In the case of challenges that you create yourself, you should therefore make sure that the impact per person is at least roughly measurable. In this way, it is also visible afterwards how much a whole team has achieved. In the case of the Vegan Challenge, for example, the average CO2 saved per person due to the elimination of meat consumption would be one way to measure the impact.

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