The strategic nature of CSR requires its infusion into every aspect of the organization core activity and HR would be required to play a leading role in the determination and in giving direction for CSR initiatives to ensure organization peace, prosperity, and impact to its community. This was further stressed by Porter and Kramer (2006) when they write: “It is through strategic CSR that the company will make the greatest social impact and reap the greatest business benefits.”
In its analysis, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), UK, states that “HR is responsible for the key systems and processes underpinning effective delivery. Through HR, CSR can be given credibility and aligned with how businesses run. CSR could be integrated into processes such as the employer brand, recruitment, appraisal, retention, motivation, reward, internal communication, diversity, coaching, and training.”
Therefore to steer CSR initiatives, HR should pay attention to the following:
Promote a policy framework to incorporate CSR as a complementary business initiative and ensure management buy-in. Such policy should states in clear terms the beneficial effects of CSR on the overall interest of the society and how it will promote long-term business sustainability.
Carry out stakeholder analysis, determine who the business stakeholders are, the effects of business operations on them and the risks and opportunities that they present. Sometimes in 2007 to 2010 my office was in a notorious neighborhood on Lagos Island where “Area boys” activities are well noticed, it occurred to me that in as much as we remain in that community we must as a matter of wisdom take cognizance of the need to manage them appropriately as a critical stakeholder.
Identify relevant CSR activities that would impact positively on the environment in which your business operates and determine the significance of such initiatives within the context of the business.
Ensure stakeholders’ involvement in the determination of such initiative without necessarily being boxed in. For example, what a particular stakeholder will consider as significant might not necessarily be needed by another.
Train and sensitize your workforce on the need for them to conduct themselves in an acceptable and ethical manner both in and out of the organization. Know that your business is a brand and your personnel is your brand ambassadors that promote your brand image.
CSR must be transparent, impartial, and adequately reported to ensure continuous support from management and other stakeholders. Note that every philanthropic gesture can be abused hence the need for proper reporting and accountability.
Appraise and measure the overall impact of the effectiveness of your CSR initiative on the business and make the necessary correction when needed.
Quite recently a telecommunication firm had its base-station and transmission facilities constantly being vandalized by unknown persons in a community, the organization decided to employ armed uniform men to man its operations, but she suddenly realized that it was costly to do yet the “vandalization” and harassment did not stop. Based on advice the company employs CSR initiative by meeting with the community representatives, simply by providing a water bole-hole that was less than N 70,000 the company now had peace and operate without any incident in the community.
The above illustration should sum up the significance of CSR as an important corporate initiative that promotes organizational peace and ensures business prosperity.
Since CSR plays a pivotal role in business sustainability it should be treated as a strategic business process with HR taking a leading role.
Thank you and enjoy smooth business operations and long-term prosperity.
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