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Relationship between CSR and HR

By Jagdeep Kaur

HR plays a dynamic role in the evolution of CSR. It has an incredible presence in promoting CSR at organizational and societal level. When we talk about CSR, we need not necessarily think about ways to do something for the society directly every time to be tagged as CSR gurus.

We instead have to take an inward approach which can actually just be led by the rightful and responsible HR managers. If they can think about society at large and design ways to invest in societal issues, they can then definitely look inside the organization and develop this level of thinking in its workforce.

When they talk about society, they should think about their own organization first which is going to do something for the society at large, and then think about the people who are going do it and then take charge of each such single person who is going to become a member of that team working in this initiative.

Initially it will be a few employees, then a team, but later each employee needs to carry the same message in and out of the organization. If we need a long term impact, mindset change is required.

CSR is here to stay, however, if we don’t want it to be just an add on to a business, it should actually become a life of any business. A CSR imbibed company culture should reflect how a company is performing, what its core values are and how well it justifies or carries its values.

And for all this we need HR to support this and take the concept further to the minds of the employees and make it a feel good factor for everyone. CSR strategies can help create a risk free environment where employees can feel secure about their jobs and responsibilities and they feel happy to be attached to the brand for which they work. Such organization thus becomes an employer of choice because of internalization of CSR values, within its culture.

Though I have mentioned here that CSR can change the way companies perform internally and externally yet there is major work required to be carried out on part of HR to stabilize their performance in this area. Just knowing where the gaps are cannot fill the pit. You need to have proper matter to fill the pit so that the holes don’t remain in the system.

HR needs to be highly motivated to take up a leading role in embedding corporate responsibility into organizational culture.HR mangers need to look beyond the traditional boundaries of HR areas and should look at opportunities that CSR brings for them as professionals, for their organizations and for global sustainability.

HR managers need to rise up  to CSR and start implementing ways to drive a more inclusive and responsive culture that help a business  to do more than just make money. This is only possible if CSR is not just adopted as a strategy but as a culture within an organization.

How HR can promote a CSR culture:

(1) Follow the Go Green fundamental – HR needs to promote and educate its employees on reducing operating costs, rightful usage of paper for printing, recycling and waste reduction and thereby making its employees, ambassadors of this go green campaign starting from office to society at large.

(2) Employee friendly policies – An organization which can invest a fortune in the wellbeing of its employees can actually expect a fortune from them for its business. Investment in employee’s mental, physical and emotional health pays in the long run. HR plans and processes which go beyond the minimum requirements results in terms of reduced absenteeism, reduced health care costs, higher productivity and longer job tenure. This is an ultimate goal which CSR indulged organization must adhere to.

(3) Creating a forum to raise voice – It is important that HR ensures the openness of company culture that promotes a forum where employees can raise voice against any injustice done to them or if their rights are being taken away, they can stand up to fight for it. Doing it well protects and advances the business, employees, and communities.

(4) Empowerment of managers – By giving the managers decision-making authority, it shall help in executing social responsibility at local level. When managers have decision making authority they can dispel their responsibility properly by carefully assessing the requirement in terms of social responsibility.

I believe charity begins at home is more suited a caption for understanding the relationship between the two. Well the value added by CSR in the form of direct results, such as, economic savings and indirect results like increase in employee satisfaction, or decrease in attrition rates are a good indicator of CSR being imbibed in company culture.

This short review of HR and its connection to CSR is like a reminder to HR managers about their increasing and unending role towards the society. There is a lot which can be penned down in this area but this is an action stage…words will not suffice, the movement needs to happen to make world a better place to live in.

(By Jagdeep Kaur is the Vice President – Global Operations, HR Globe Consulting (www.hrglobeconsulting.com)

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