It's resolution time! If I were a CSR Report, these would be my resolutions for 2011:
Be jovial and friendly to all that read me.
The fact that my content is serious and complex, shouldn't mean that reading me becomes a boring and frustrating task. I am going to project a positive and enjoyable reading experience, and use language which people can understand. I will add a quiz or two, a crossword, and sudoku for the really intelligent ones. I will smile at all I meet, and jovially invite them to come and read me. (Of course, I reserve the right to kick 'em in the ahem if they don't) (Even resolutions have limits).
Get along well with my online stepsister.
I know that online reports are stealing the limelight these days, and I can understand that, but I am going to make a real effort to get along well with my family online. I will make sure to point out exactly which URL readers can go to find information and ensure that when I say "More information on the website" that there actually is actually more information on the website.
Make a difference in the life of everyone that reads me.
I want to be sure that everyone who reads me gets at least one insight or one piece of information that will change the way they think and lead them to change the way they behave. I am not sure how I will do this , but that's ok, even Unilever takes on challenges they don't know how they will deliver on. I just hope the effect is positive and not the other way. Wouldn't want anyone making a difference by committing suicide after reading all my 342 pages.
Get people talking.
This time, now that I am already in my 9th cycle, I am going to make sure that people start talking about the things that are printed on my beautiful pages.I will engage, encourage, enquire, en-everything. I will use social media (see next resolution). Most of all, I want the employees of the company that writes me to get talking. In order to do this, I will make a big effort to show up on their computer screens, in newsletters, training programs, round table discussions and on plasmas and notice boards. After all that, if there isn't even a teeny buzz in the organization, I will have to conclude that 2012 will be retirement year (for the VP of Sustainability).
Get my own Twitter account.
How many CSR Reports tweet, hmmmm ? I am gonna be the FIRST! Perhaps if I tweet my own stuff, I might be able to get someone to take notice of me. My first tweet will be: " I am a CSR Report, This is my first tweet." Hah! Can't wait. Betcha wanna follow me already.
Avoid trash cans, shredders and recycling bins.
Well, I know that recycling is all the rage at the moment, but frankly, I am not much good to anyone when I am recycled. I want to be prominently displayed wherever my writers' stakeholders are, and I bet you they are not in the trash can or in the recycling bin. And as for shredders, well that just sounds painful. Even us CSR Reports have rights.
Refuse to be printed out too many times.
Everyone makes a big thing about not printing out CSR reports, but I know that we are a vital part of our corporation's communications portfolio and we just need to be in hard copy some of the time. However, I will succumb to the flavor of the times and refuse to be printed out more times than is absolutely necessary. I have a deal with the toner. When I say stop, she says printer jam.
Don't talk to annual reports.
Look, until this integrated report thing kicks in, I don't want to have anything to do with annual reports. All you can find in them is money, profits, balance sheets, money, money, money.. as if that was the most important thing in the world. My audience is of a different quality.
Don't let the hamster anywhere nearby.
You all know what hamsters do to printed matter. They tear it up into little strips. Unless the hamster can unequivocably prove that it is interested in sustainability, I will activate my hamster-avoidance strategy which I plan to develop early in 2011.
Don't allow them to wrap me up in fifteen layers of paper just to send me overseas.
Many of my CSR Report friends have sent me postcards from exotic destinations overseas, like Manchester, having been bulk-mailed to a host of stakeholders around the world. Many of them told me that they were totally hot and bothered on the journey, having been wrapped up in several layers of paper, cardboard, bubble-wrap, shrink-nylon and I am not sure what else. We are a hardy breed, us CSR Reports. We can travel light. If any one wants to wrap me up well, I will resist to the death. RIP.
All this talk about getting married to annual reports (you know, the integrated reporting thing) is not for me. Not in 2011 anyway. Until someone can come up with a good marriage contract so that my delicate CSR personality won't be totally obliterated by the dominant "A" type financial report, I am going to stay happily single.
There are many people who tell me I serve no useful purpose .This year, I will fight back. I will tell everyone that I serve a critical purpose in the sustainability program of any business. Punch me below the belt and I will take my belt off and wrap it around your neck. HaHa.
Go on a diet.
This has to be the year. For the past eight years, I have been overweight bordering on obese at a full 200 or more pages. This year, I will join the Weightwatchers CSR Report program, and get down to no more than 80 pages. No more Chunky Monkey for me. Well, until 2012, that is.
elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices Contact me via www.twitter.com/elainecohen on Twitter or via my business website www.b-yond.biz/en (BeyondBusiness, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)