With global expansion comes more global responsibility in a
world where everything a company does can be shoved into the spotlight – good
or bad. The term “corporate social responsibility,” or CSR, has been around
since the 1960s, but has taken on a new meaning as interest in sustainability
and charity blooms. Many organizations are investing heavily in CSR programs to
restore or build trust among shareholders, employees, and customers and to
improve their brand. So, where does HR come in?
Human Resources departments have the unique opportunity to
be the growth center of CSR in the workplace. They play a critical role in
ensuring that the company truly adopts the CSR programs. Furthermore, HR can
manage the implementation of the plan and monitor its adoption proactively,
while documenting its success throughout the company.
For many organizations that are struggling to implement
actual CSR initiatives, it is traced back to the creation of values the
organization holds most high. If a company defines itself in narrow financial
terms, for instance, it is easy to disregard social responsibility. It is up to
Human Resources to promote the value of social and environmental ethics to
individuals within the organization.
To insert corporate social responsibility into the
workplace, it’s important to give employees the right support and training,
which HR can manage through learning and development strategies. Embedding
ethics into the organizational culture, such as being able to ask the
challenging questions, is crucial to the success of any CSR initiatives.
HR can create a culture of change and responsibility with some
strategic methods. Getting the younger employees, who are already
environmentally conscious, excited about fresh CSR initiatives is a great way
to begin. A committed set of employees who infuse enthusiasm for such programs
would enable friendly competition and recognition programs. In addition, social
and community connections that are encouraged by employers give employees
permission to involve their companies in meaningful ways with the community.
Corporate social responsibility can help reverse the image
that corporate objectives are rooted in single-minded profit at the expense of
society and the environment. It’s time for the HR profession to move out of the
shadows and take an active role in an organization’s CSR strategy. When so many elements of a CSR strategy
involve people, it becomes an opportunity that the HR profession should grasp
1. Equip employees with the right training and support to embed CSR into the workplace
2. Get new, young employees excited about CSR initiatives to spark enthusiasm throughout the organization
4. Recognize that CSR initiatives can benefit employers, employees, and customers alike