Why Should Companies Communicate Their CSR Initiatives Among Employees


Organizational leaders should publicize their CSR efforts in an effective manner among all levels of employees to maximize any internal benefits of CSR, otherwise the employees will detect if the company is making “much ado about nothing.” Debadutta Mishra underlines the importance of CSR Communication within the organization.

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has gradually evolved over the past couple of decades, which  includes all the duties and responsibilities that a business organization is required to pursue in order to achieve a balanced growth over the years.

A well-organized set of CSR norms also results in the maintenance of a healthy work environment in a firm, which, in turn, boosts employee-productivity levels and lowers attrition figures. CSR policies are instrumental in helping organizations establish a positive goodwill in the markets, which is beyond doubt, the most valuable intangible asset that firms hope to achieve.

Employees also take immense pride in working for a firm that is known for its properly specified and well-pursued set of CSR policies. People tend to think their companies are doing a pretty good job in the CSR arena, and those perceptions of organizational corporate citizenship matter to employees.

Organizations must leverage development communication in an effective manner in order to improve both employee perceptions of the organization and customer perceptions. Development communication is the integration of strategic communication in development projects. Strategic communication is a powerful tool that can improve the chances of success of development projects.

All development requires some kind of behavior change on the part of stakeholders. Research shows that changing knowledge and attitudes does not necessarily translate into behavior change. In order to effect behavior change, it is necessary to understand why people do what they do and understand the barriers to change or adopting new practices. Meaningful communication is about getting information out to particular audiences, listening to their feedback, and responding appropriately.

Whether discussing a development project or broader economic reforms — from health, education or rural development to private sector development, financial reform or judicial reform — the idea is to build consensus through raising public understanding and generating well-informed dialogue among stakeholders.

Well-conceived, professionally implemented communication programs that are tied directly to reform efforts or development project objectives that bring understanding of local political, social and cultural realities to bear in the design of development programs can make the difference between a project’s success and failure.

Because CSR is a long-term process, it’s all too easy to neglect the importance of reporting accomplishments along the way. All stakeholders need regular communication about CSR goals — even small, incremental progress.  And employees need to hear about that progress even more frequently. They also need to be recognized for their contributions, as they, of all stakeholders, have invested the most time, energy and commitment towards achieving those goals. Employees should be Invited to give  input about where the company directs its CSR efforts, and encourage direct participation in those efforts. CSR goals are more meaningful when employees can directly contribute to them and when those goals benefit communities and causes that they care about and celebrate successes with employees along the way.

The frustrations of CSR workers are often to do with their isolation within the company. Many CSR workers feel more affinity with the NGO representatives they have dialogue with than with their own colleagues. There is also the frustration that they have little power, and have difficulty convincing management to implement bold initiatives.

Another frustration is that the most effective initiatives from a social or environmental point of view are often the ones that are most difficult to sell, and that once the PR is in the public domain the commitment to projects shrinks. In a nutshell, organizations, in addition to registering high profit figures, have to sincerely follow their CSR responsibilities, particularly in the present-day world. Employees, on their part, have an extremely important role to play in helping their companies stay on the right track as far as such CSR activities are concerned.

Organizational leaders should publicize their CSR efforts in an effective manner among all levels of employees to maximize any internal benefits of CSR, otherwise the employees will detect if the company is making “much ado about nothing.” And other than publicizing the organization’s CSR efforts, the employees should be involved, whenever possible, to provide opportunities for employees at all levels to give input about which types of initiatives are important to them, and to participate in the efforts.

The advantages are that, employees may come up with really innovative ideas for how to make a positive impact in the community and meet a business need at the same time. Getting employees involved in this way is consistent with the principles of participative management, and the idea that employees prefer work environments where they can make a contribution to work they find meaningful. Also, investing in the initiatives that are important to the employees will increase the importance they attach to CSR, and the commitment they have to your organization.

Debadutta Mishra can be reached at dd@indiacsr.in

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