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Engaging the HR Dept to Understand the Value of CSR


13 November 2012 at 3:23 pm
Staff Reporter
There are at least ten questions any CSR professional should be asking their HR team before it’s too late, says Communications and CSR Consultant Jenny Hassam.

Staff Reporter | 13 November 2012 at 3:23 pm


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Engaging the HR Dept to Understand the Value of CSR
13 November 2012 at 3:23 pm

OPINION: There are at least ten questions any CSR professional should be asking their HR team before it’s too late, says Communications and CSR Consultant Jenny Hassam.

When people think of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) they often think of how companies impact their environment or how they’re giving back to communities. They would be correct, but often looking internally can provide some amazing opportunities to grow and develop the business responsibly. Looking after your organisation’s key resource, its people, is a no-brainer for any organisation wanting to increase staff retention and become an ‘Employer of Choice’.

The strategy of managing this integral resource obviously lies with the HR Department, who will need to be engaged to understand the value of what CSR can bring to their already busy table. Understanding how they work and what information they own will help you define a clear strategy going forward.

HR teams have a number of mandatory requirements to adhere to. From health and safety compliance to registered training organisation audits, HR is busy ensuring they’re compliant and fulfilling legal requirements at all times. But how do you get your HR team to go above and beyond the mandatory and create the extraordinary?

From mandatory to extraordinary

First things first, find out what the organisation knows about its people and go from there. Does your organisation actually know who it employs? Is it collecting information on employees from staff surveys and new hires? You’d be surprised how many organisations don’t know the basics.

Here are some must-ask questions for your HR team:

1. Is your company facing challenges around staff retention, training, skills gaps, recruitment?
2. What key issues and highlights does the staff survey bring up?
3. What is the motivation and satisfaction of staff like?
4. What is the staff turnover? How does this compare with the Australian average?
5. What training and skill development do you offer?
6. What do the demographics of staff look like?
7. What is the diversity like of staff, senior management team and board?
8. How is your staff’s health and wellbeing?
9. Where are you finding new staff, ie: locally, nationally or globally?
10. Do you consider your organisation to be an Employer of Choice?

HR + CSR = a match made in heaven?

With this info under your belt you will now be able to work with HR to see where any weaknesses, challenges or issues need to be addressed. Areas to focus on will depend on your organisation, so whether racial and gender diversity, skills and training or health and wellbeing are prioritised will need to be decided upon. Setting up focus groups, engaging interested staff, gaining senior leadership’s buy-in, creating new programs, initiatives and engaging new partners who will be able to guide you are the next steps.

From sourcing the best talent on offer to ensuring current staff are skilled to excel in their roles; responsible business practice needs to work with HR to further business objectives. Look after your staff and they’ll, in turn, look after your bottom line. The advantages of easier recruitment, attracting high calibre of staff and improving retention, impacting on your organisation’s bottom-line is a win-win when selling this to your CEO. So start the delving now and it will pay off down the track.

Jenny Hassam is a Communications and CSR Consultant who has spent over 10 years working with Not for Profits, corporates and governmental organisations in the UK, Europe and Australia creating responsible business practice programs with impact.

Connect with her at Rhetoric Comms or on Twitter at RhetoricComms.



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One comment

  • Craig Spencer Craig Spencer says:

    Great article Jenny, and yes I am the Head of Community Engagement and I am a HR professional who is accountable for the Community Engagement strategy, with key performance metrics all around Staff attraction, retention, engagement and development and I sit in the HR Divsion, so yes, it certainly works ! Oh, and Brand advocacy is important as well 😉

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