By Prof. (Dr.) Sanjiv Marwah
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) also called corporate scruples, corporate citizenship, social functioning, or sustainable responsible business / responsible business across the sphere is a form of corporate self-regulation incorporated into a business model. Simply put, CSR is about incorporating economic, environmental and social aims within a company’s operations and development. An organisation can accomplish sustainable growth, if CSR becomes a fundamental part of its business process.
Business companies worldwide, have recognized, that it is essential to imbibe in their core strategic vision, the concept of not just financial returns, but the important ingredient of social returns. Incorporating social returns is increasingly becoming the most sought after strategy for sustaining competitive advantage. Organisations increasingly realize the importance of sustainability in their business operations and in their long term strategies. CSR professionals, world over, understand how to approach business problems and seek solutions that draw from different disciplines within the organisation.
The Companies Act, 2013 makes it compulsory for Indian companies to deliberately spend 2% of their profits on CSR activities. This has given a new boost to the field of Corporate Social Responsibility. The new law mandates corporations with net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, income of Rs 1,000 crore or more, net profit of Rs. 5 crore or more during any financial year to establish a CSR committee of the board, consisting of three or more directors, of which at least one director shall be an independent director.
Within private and government sectors, new employment opportunities are increasing. Professionals are taught to translate corporate strategies into their CSR activities. The chances of making a career will be sought after and CSR/sustainability, coordinators, directors and managers will become the new buzzword in the world of hiring consultants. In India, these activities are managed by different qualified managers who are not specialists in the field. There is a clear requirement for professionals who appreciate the dynamics of government functioning, flagship curriculum, economy models and social condition. Accepting government functioning is particularly significant.
Companies need to work with the government in many key areas which link health and education, even if they want to, they cannot just go to a slum and start some initiative. Mandatory corporate social responsibility is likely to enhance the demand for professionals by 50 per cent in the upcoming years and the industry is likely to see at least 50,000 more job opportunities in this sector.
Skills required for a CSR Professional
This is hard to elucidate due to the various roles and range of disciplines involved. Though the major skills necessary for a successful CSR Professional are: Business skills which include building insight, communication skills, decision making, commercial consciousness, IT, innovation, strategic awareness, leadership, handling complexity and problem solving. People skills like flexibility and understanding, developing others, determining without power, open mind, honesty, political consciousness, self-development and learning, building partnerships, team spirit and questioning, business as usual.
Technical skills include technical know-how, understanding impacts, stakeholder dialogue, internal consultancy, selling the business case, accepting human rights and understanding property.
Corporate social responsibility managers are accountable for determining and formulating strategies which strengthen a company’s CSR aims. They carry out research, come up with ideas, develop policies, create comprehensive plans, build relationships with partner organisations, and then apply and synchronize a range of actions and initiatives, which are intended to have a positive contact on local communities.
A corporate social responsibility manager tends to engage prospects of marketing and promotion. Indeed, in this line of work, one can perform as an internal and external spokesperson for company’s CSR policies and projects. People are also accountable for creating awareness of company’s promise to CSR and generating publicity around your organization’s endeavors. Finally, corporate social responsibility managers are also liable for enrolling, handling and training junior staff members.
To enter into this profession, you will require an undergraduate degree in any discipline. However, studying an applicable subject, such as sociology, economics, international development, international studies, human rights, modern languages, marketing, PR, business studies, may boost your prospects of securing an entry-level position. Different types of course are available at Masters Level and as part of MBA courses. Specialized courses like Master of Social Works (MSW) MBA in rural development and Post Graduate Diploma in rural development provided by different Institutes and universities may be the right choice for a career in CSR.
Salary & Benefits
Starting salaries depend on principal qualifications, skills and experience. Entry-level CSR officers tend to earn about Rs 5 lakh per annum, while a mid level professional with a few years’ of experience can earn around Rs 15 lakh per annum. Senior corporate social responsibility managers can get annual salaries anywhere between Rs 40-60 lakh. It can go upto Rs 1 crore for CEOs. CSR teams tend to be quite small, so if you work hard and have plenty of aspirations, you can progress quickly.
[Afternoon Despatch & Courier Mumbai India]