Ultimately, corporate reponsibility is not just about treating employees well, or investing in their development, or providing a ramp if they are in a wheelchair. It's not only about how satisfied they are on the job. Corporate responsibility is transforming every employee into an ambassador of the corporate responsibility message of the business. Ensuring that they understand, are involved, are inspired and know where they can play a role. This means moving from impacts ON employees to impacts OF employes. Each employee in the business interacts with any number of stakeholders every day, maybe thousands of daily connections. This potential, to turn every single stakeholder interaction into one which moves the CSR agenda forward, is more powerful than almost any other single business activity.
CSR reporting is often seen as something which primarily benefits employees. Through the report, they get a comprehensive view of the way their Company interprets and progresses sustainability themes. Often, the CSR report contains news and information which had not cascaded through to them via regular internal communication channels. In some cases, Corporate Reponsibility reports even state the names of individuals in the Company who are responsible for progressing different action items - an example of this is Vancouver City Savings Union (Vancity) (page 35). But when I recently tried to ascertain how many Companies actually track how many employees read all or part of their reports, I couldnt get an answer.
I found one example of something coming close to this on the Adidas website where readers of their online report are asked to own up and identify themselves. The results are displayed in a neat graph.
We dont know how many people took this survey, and I am not quite sure what the difference is between an employee and a worker, but this is a great way to see what kind of people are taking interest in the report. And a very brave move on the part of Adidas to have an open survey such as this on their reporting site . In a recent dialogue with Symantec, i understood they progress many activities in the framework of internal communications to ensure employees are aware and engaged. But, bottom line is, overall, we DON'T KNOW if employees take any sort of interest in one of the most important documents the Company publishes to stakeholders, and if they are capable of being the ambassadors for that document, and the Company.
- 100% of HR Manager responders say that HR Managers need to have some understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility
- 54% of HR Managers say CSR is something they are involved with as part of their ongoing role
- 80% and 70% respectively say this involvements relates to ethics and community involvement, with zero being involved in supply chain practices and external stakeholder engagement.
- 45% said that HR Managers need additional skills (and knowledge) to support CSR
- 30% said they had targets related to CSR
So, they all think it's important, half of them are responsible for it (in a limited way), and a third are measured on it. Less than half think they need to learn new ways of doing things in order to do it. Frankly, I think this is a saddish picture of the HR function. And i am keen to get a wider sample of opinions from a broader range of HR Managers so PLEASE pass this on to any HR Manager you know and request they complete the survey HERE: http://bit.ly/3HpxnS
I promise to update you all with the results. Thank you !
elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm . Visit our website at: www.b-yond.biz/en