‘With great power comes great responsibility.’
This expression might be suitable to explain why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an important element in the company strategy. As companies continues to expand, growing nationally and exploring international markets, it is imperative for organisations to emphasise on the need to provide significant contribution to the environment and society as well.
Profits should not be the only sole purpose of your company growth vision, you should also allocate certain due amount from yearly company budget towards corporate social responsibility. However, how do you know and set limits to corporate spendings on CSR and realise when it’s not just enough but too much?
How can HR help define the organisation’s CSR policy and direct efforts towards CSR key issues as well?
CSR, we can say, is a game of give and take. The success of an organisation can never be separated from the community’s support that helps them thrive and survive in the market. As a means of expressing gratitude and respect to the environments we live and collaborate in, the company sees CSR as a need of the hour to seed social consciousness.
At this point, HR should take the leadership role in CSR. The most important function of HR in this program is to ensure that the company adopts the right CSR strategy, in accordance with ethics and culture. Additionally, HR managers should also monitor and record the implementation of CSR plan.
Given the widespread impact of corporate operation in the society, CSR in its entirety can cover various aspects of life to include social, environmental, cultural, and even governance issues. Therefore,you need to carefully examine the type of CSR activity that meets your corporate values for the community you intend to serve.
As part of the bid for stronger brand recognition, there are times when a company should willingly go extra miles in their CSR plan. This does not mean, companies have to put everything out there for the sake of winning people, but it should display the right amount of care to infuse social awareness among masses.
If you do not want to lose trust for being too penny-pinching in your CSR program, neither face the pitfalls of going too over generous with your initiatives, then here are some useful steps to help you find balance of purpose and action, before implementing a CSR plan:
See: CSR Penetration in Asia Pacific: At the Roots or On the Surface?
HR should be the first agent of change. When an organisation is committed to foster a culture of social responsibility, then should start with nurturing a culture of healthy competition among colleagues and initiate recognition programs. Through this approach, your business can overcome the unpleasant stigma of being a sole profit-oriented enterprise at the expense of society. You can gain public trust as a reliable organisation by holding social events such as charity, volunteer days, or community programs to build and establish company repute.
You cannot see the outcomes of a CSR plan overnight. Rather, it takes time and commitment before you can reap the rewards from the seeds you sow. Therefore, you should be patient when developing a long-term CSR program and keep your eye on the bigger vision.
Create a CSR plan that is in line with the business workings and targets the prime communities you serve. Such as for example, if you are engaged in a publishing industry, then you need to think on how to cut down raw materials on print-run, save paper, prevent cutting down bamboo trees and minimize paper wastage by doing away with print and going digital.
It is crucial to implement go green practices as a means to create better planet. Other environment-friendly habits you can support adoption is by reducing energy consumption, recycling paper and bottles from the office, as well as promoting healthy lunch.
You should captivate people’s interests with positive CSR activities and share the outcomes publicly. However, doing good in itself is not enough. You have to make sure that your company’s core practices do no harm indirectly to the society and environment around as well.
It will be of no use if you hold a visit and give donations to an orphanage school as a part your CSR plan, but in practice you commit human rights abuse by employing minors. If you want to look credible, you need to be specific and transparent about your CSR approach and commitment.
It is crucial for HR managers to celebrate, publicise, and share the successful implementation of CSR plan. This strategy will not only drive future CSR initiatives, but also demonstrate company’s active participation in local issues.
Directing company’s CSR program is not just a piece of cake. Since there is no universally acceptable standard for CSR, so it becomes HR managers’ responsibility to seek the best form that aligns with organisation’s vision, strategy, is morally acceptable and meaningful. If CSR programs are implemented successfully and reaches the right target audience, then this raise your CSR ratings and uplift brand perception overall. Likewise, CSR can also contribute to increase of shareholder value, while improving upon employee engagement altogether.
The crux of it remains to decide wise, before going overboard and too generous with a CSR plan and an aptitude to serve, that you tend to lose out on balance and eventually lead your business to a condition of bankruptcy. It is hence advisable to tread cautiously and slow with CSR being one of the key focus areas, instead of setting pace with the competition and following the troupe.
Read also: Walking the CSR Talk