Today's post comes from Neil Shah, implementation consultant and product sales specialist for Halogen Software. In this article Neil discusses how organizations can use their talent management programs to support corporate social responsibility activities, and how this can lead to great employee engagement and organizational alignment.
Every business has an impact on the community and environment through its everyday operations (including products, supply chain, employment and energy use).
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is about a company recognizing a responsibility for its impacts on the wider society. It's also about demonstrating a willingness to go beyond minimum legal requirements to ensure these impacts are positive.
In a nutshell, CSR is about how a company manages its impacts proactively, leveraging its positive influence on the community (e.g., creating jobs, promoting local economic development, etc.), and mitigating its negative impacts (e.g., reducing waste, responsible marketing, reducing its environmental footprint, etc).
CSR goes way back
Corporate social responsibility is not a new idea - think of the anthropological, non-profit making initiatives provided by the wealthy mill owners during the industrial revolution, or even the social and economic impact of an aristocratic family and their estate in the Edwardian era, illustrated by the popular television series Downtown Abbey.
The modern concept of corporate social responsibility became defined in the 1950s. At that time, Howard H. Bowen surveyed organizations and found that 93.5% of businessmen agreed with the Fortune magazine statement: ‘CSR, or the "social consciousness," of managers meant that businessmen were responsible for the consequences of their actions in a sphere somewhat wider than that covered by their profit-and-loss statements.'
But have you thought about how your talent management programs can impact your corporate social responsibility? At its most basic, good talent management leads to:
- an increase in employee well being, fulfillment and productivity
- employee development and career progression
- higher employee engagement and retention
All of these help improve the talent communities from which a company recruits and where it does business, increase local employment and general economic well-being in the area, as well as increase productivity and performance for the company.
CSR and organizational alignment
But talent management best-practices can go further than that in helping your organization be socially responsible. How? Be ingraining CSR values in your culture and aligning your workforce to achieve CSR goals.
To ensure that your CSR values are introduced into the everyday life of your company's talent:
- Identify company values based on your CSR policy
- Define and describe these as core competencies
- Evaluate every employee's demonstration of these core competencies as part of your performance management processes
- Further develop these competencies in all your employees through targeted training
This helps make corporate social responsibility a key part of "how" every employee in your organization accomplishes work. You should also either set high-level CSR goals, or incorporate CSR considerations into each of your high-level corporate goals.
Then you can invite every employee to set individual goals that directly support the high-level organizational goals, and thereby increase your corporate social responsibility.
Embedding corporate social responsibility in your core competencies and high-level organizational goals in this way helps:
- Communicate the importance of corporate social responsibility to all employees
- Keep it front of mind for everyone
- Improve accountability for CSR
- Graduallly build greater consciousness of the organization's social impact and improve its social contributions
- Ensure that your corporate social responsibility is lived and breathed by all members of your organization
Visit our Centers of excellence to learn more about how you can align your workforce and build a strong organizational culture.