Most companies invest heavily in CSR activities to strengthen trust among their stakeholders, and also to improve their corporate brands.
The HR already works at communicating and implementing ideas, policies, cultural and behavioural change across the organization. Its role in influencing attitudes and links with the top team means it’s ideally placed to do the same with CSR.
Let’s look into details of how CSR can be better managed with the help of HR.
How HR Can Play A Significant Role in CSR
Here are some ways HR can contribute more effectively to the CSR goals in an organisation.
1. Foster A ‘Culture’ of CSR:
Cases abound of mass corporate failure, with prominent stakeholders fleeing the country and the very recent multi-crore scam related to a leading bank, have all created an environment of mistrust among employees, shareholders and the general public.
Employer brands are being eroded and it is in the best interest of various stakeholders if corporates make suitable amends by investing in some valuable corporate social responsibility activities.
Introduce the expectations for CSR in employee orientations. If CSR is important to the organization, invite champions from the middle or top management to share their stories, making the issue real.
Integrate competencies and behaviours into job descriptions, performance standards and employee surveys.
''CSR isn’t always something for the outside world to see… It needs to begin from within – be part of your culture, start for and with your employees!''
Wellness, diversity, work-life balance and flextime policies are CSR programs which fall directly within the HR manager’s purview and are at the core of a responsible workplace.
Relevant issues range from employee rewards, remuneration and compensation, employee wellbeing, and recruiting processes, among others. Let’s take a look at them individually.
- Employee Rewards: HR professionals need to consider the difference between remuneration levels and salary packages concerning men and women, in addition to profit-sharing and financial transparency as well as an accurate depiction of the pay scale review, administration and its link to performance.
- Employee Wellbeing: This covers a whole range of issues, including safety at work which makes it particularly important in jobs where there is exposure to the general public.
Wellbeing also includes welfare and social benefits and looks with a holistic approach to how a company deals with employees.
Additionally, it examines the ways in which employees are encouraged to maintain work-life balance – there are many companies today that promote work-life management programs and find that they gain immeasurable benefits in return.
- Employee Recruitment: Research suggests that people looking for jobs want better lives;they don’t just want better jobs.
People want to make a difference and recognize their purpose in life is not simply about making shareholders richer. People want to feel worthwhile and not become another statistic on the payroll.
CSR initiatives are a great way to attract the right kind of talent – potential employees who appreciate companies that make an impact and are willing to contribute to them.
- Employee Performance Management: The total rewards and recognition program, including base salary, long-term incentives and other non-monetary recognition benefits (such as award programs, the employee of the month, promotions, career pathing, etc.), needs to be aligned with the company’s CSR values and strategy.
CSR should be recognized in both the basic job responsibilities as well as the annual performance objectives of the individuals and team.
2. Eco-Friendly Workplaces:
''A relatively recent trend in CSR strategy has been a move towards ‘green’ buildings. Reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, even printing on both sides of the paper are all things every organisation can take up.''
Green practices can be implemented to assist in environmental waste reduction while promoting and encouraging better corporate ethics. Embracing green practices has a direct impact on rising energy and utility costs. The more we focus on shifting towards eco-friendly practices, the lesser is the burden on natural resources.
Reducing each employee’s carbon footprint is a great way of saving energy.
Few suggestions to start off with:
- Allow employees to work from home when possible to save fuel while travelling
- Encourage shutting off lights, computers, printers when not in use
- Recycle papers, cans, bottles in the office
- Create a fund for areas hit by natural disasters across the globe, help in kind such as food, clothing etc can also be collected
- Switch to laptops over desktop computers as laptops consume up to 90% less power
- Make use of technology such as teleconferencing and video calls rather than on-site meetings and trips
3. Celebrate Corporate Social Responsibility Success:
A lot of effort is spent on creating a successful program and having a lucrative CSR activity in place is no less of a reason to celebrate.
Involve line managers, team leaders, and every employee by appreciating everyone’s attempts to build a solid CSR plan.
It is important to publicize such initiatives not only for the benefit of the larger public but also for the knowledge the local population that, in addition to providing jobs, the company takes an active interest in and participates in social issues.
HR needs to be an active business partner working with other functions, for example, finance, marketing, PR etc. it will need to look beyond the boundaries of usual practice and work on its own PR. CSR is a strategic opportunity which needs dynamism, creativity and imagination.
What To Consider When Starting A CSR Strategy:
- Clarify your core values and principles.
- Make sure you know who your key internal and external shareholders are and which issues affect your relationship with them.
- Get the top team on board, and know how to sell the benefits of CSR to different stakeholders.
- Understand how the CSR strategy is aligned to your business strategy and HR practices.
- Communicate consistently.
- Training is vital, as CSR will only have an impact if employees are engaged, attitudes or behaviour wont change otherwise.
- Effectively measure and evaluate CSR, otherwise the time, effort and money invested are based on assumptions, not results.
To conclude, HR professionals should adopt a sound Corporate Social Responsibility plan that simultaneously increases shareholder value, boosts employee engagement and increases employer brand recognition.
Author: All Things Talent