Blinkers must come off to benefits of CSR

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Blinkers must come off to benefits of CSROn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Business needs rather than altruism should be the driving force behindcorporate social responsibility (CSR) projects,delegates heard at a conferencelast week. Trade and Industry secretary Patricia Hewitt, told delegates that morecompanies would be likely to practice CSR and increase their communityinvolvement if they could see organisational benefits. “Imaginative and large CSR programmes must be a response to businessproblems. This will help show other businesses and the Government the wayforward,” she said. CSR can deliver a competitive edge in the war for talent, Hewitt added.”The war for talent is real and increasingly fierce. To succeed, firmsneed to become employers of choice and they need to attract, train and keepvery good people,” she said. “Employees with high levels of skills are acting like consumers andwant more than a good pay packet. CSR can make people feel proud of theorganisation they work for.” David Robinson, senior adviser of Community Links, told delegates at theBusiness in the Community Conference that while more firms are engaging incommunity projects, there needs to be greater leadership commitment. He said: “For most companies CSR is still an appendage to business andnot an expression of leadership.” Robinson said he was “weary and wary” of CSR as “a bolt oninitiative”, and challenged firms to spend 95 per cent of their marketingbudgets on a CSR project. It would bring both social change and businessbenefit, he said. HR has a critical role to play in developing CSR. Robinson cited the exampleof a successful 32-year-old investment banker who wanted to work one day a weekfor Community Links. Her employer wouldn’t allow her to, so she resigned. Anne Watts, workplace and diversity director of Business in the Community,said: “CSR has to be tied in with the HR strategy and then aligned withthe key values of a business.” By Mike Broad Case study: M&S launches social forumMarks and Spencer has set up a new committee to help thecompany embrace CSR by ensuring its staff are fully involved in the business.The retail giant’s executive chairman Luc Vandevelde will chairthe committee to ensure the initiative – which aims to improve communicationwith staff and engage them with the company’s aims – is driven from the topdown.Dame Stella Rimington, a non executive director at M&S,said the push to improve internal CSR would help the firm deliver its keystrategies and build better customer relationships.”CSR isn’t just about being seen to do the right thing itis something we must do to regain confidence with our customers. It is good forbusiness but has to come from the very top,” she told delegates at theBusiness in the Community Conference.The firm now surveys its staff quarterly to gauge opinion moreaccurately and has launched a three-month consultation period to speak tocurrent and retired employees.M&S has introduced a confidential helpline to improve allaspects of staff welfare as well as a range of softer measures, such as givingparents holiday for a child’s first day at school.Rimington explained she wants staff to go beyond just turningup for work and hoped a new way of thinking could be embedded into the culture.However, she said the relationship was two-way and in returnfor more freedom, the business expects respect and results in return.”Taking CSR seriously means we will sell more, promote ourbrand, secure more investment and motivate people to work for and stay withus,” she said. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more