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Tools for integrating corporate social responsibility into human resource: Part II

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Human resource professionals understand the win-win tenet in employee career pathing and succession planning, particularly for the high performance individual.

Employees included in efforts to advance their career within the firm are more motivated, more loyal and therefore more productive.

Career mapping and succession planning programmes could incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) experiences either within or outside the company, for example through secondments to social or environmental organisations or assignments, or leaves to pursue CSR-related executive work experience, to prepare the individual for CSR leadership as well as general management roles.

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Next to recruitment and competency development, compensation and performance management are central to the human resource (HR) function. HR is involved in setting performance standards and expectations and monitoring results.

The most critical HR tool of all is the compensation and incentive programme. Human resource practitioners understand very well that “you get what you pay for”.

Typically, companies reward on the basis of financial performance, which will singularly foster profit-maximising behaviour, overlooking the need to also consider sustainability factors.

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The total reward and recognition programme, including base salary, incentive pay, long-term incentives and other non-monetary recognition benefits (such as award programmes, employee of the month, promotions, career pathing, etc.), needs to be aligned with the company’s CSR values and strategy. To do less is to guarantee under-achievement of a company’s CSR objectives.

The strategic direction of an organisation is set by the chief executive officer (CEO) and the executive team. However, the HR department can help business units establish CSR targets and develop performance evaluation systems that foster CSR behaviour by providing the right tools and counsel.

In addition to focusing on executives and senior managers, the personal objectives set by each employee could incorporate one CSR objective aligned with the corporate CSR strategy.

CSR should be recognised in both the base job responsibilities as well as the annual performance objectives at the individual and team levels.

Of course, job descriptions are not revised that frequently, so the opportunity of integrating CSR into every job description throughout a company may be limited, unless a new department is being established or a start-up company is launching.

However, as roles, departments and job requirements evolve, this often brings with it the task of fine-tuning job descriptions. These are ideal opportunities for incorporating CSR parameters in the job description.

Growing and adapting to the changing marketplace necessitates that firms pursue significant behavioural shifts from time to time. Sometimes organisations require the outside assistance of change management professionals to help them identify an appropriate strategy when they are attempting to create significant behavioural change, but in the end, culture shift can only be achieved and sustained if it is driven and sponsored effectively internally.

Mindsets and behavioural change come about through role modelling, building awareness and generating desire (what is in it for me?) and conviction, developing knowledge and ability and reinforcement through incentive programs.

Culture change requires setting the tone at the top – where management demonstrates and models the organisation’s values – and then creating alignment throughout the organisation with the values you espouse to live.

The organisational culture, or “how work gets done around here”, is a key dimension of any strong CSR agenda. People need to be rewarded for the way the leaders want work done on the shop floor and in the C-suite.

Furthermore, every CSR strategy requires the development and implementation of an employee communication programme to convey the corporate direction, objectives, innovation and performance on its CSR efforts.

It is important to note that employee engagement is dependent on communication of board, CEO and senior management commitment, in the absence of which employees will become cynical and unmotivated.

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