Sunday, April 28, 2013

How Effective is Your Corporate Social Responsibility Program?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is supposed to be an extension of an organisations strategy and intertwined with its planned sustainable growth – but how many organisations today take CSR seriously?
It’s not just a matter of how much money an organisation contributes to ‘social’ causes or the ‘flowery’ rhetoric found on websites or in annual reports since CSR is supposed to be a focused, integral part of your organisations strategy for sustainable growth. Which means if ‘money’ is being donated to seemingly worthy causes the organisation should be ensuring that those funds are being used to really add-value to their community and be able to articulate the real benefits that have been achieved by their donations.
The global financial crisis has brought misery to millions and in some cases has ‘encouraged’ or even ‘forced’ people to look after ‘number one’ – which makes solid, social sense, since you can’t help others if you have to worry about your own basic month-to-month survival.
At the corporate level – big profits are still being made and as many believe extortionate bonuses being paid for some pretty poor performance achievements in some sectors. The argument by big business is that they have to pay the bonuses to keep their talent – but some may argue whether they are sure this is the actual talent they want to keep for long term sustainable growth. 
CSR has always been about finding the strategic and budgeting balance that allows an organisation to ‘invest’ in improving its local community and its environment. It’s about having a real plan that is both long-term and consistent that can be tracked on a month-to-month, year-to-year basis to prove that the CSR strategy in practice is adding real value and having a positive measurable impact on their community.
There is a danger that your organisation has ‘lost the plot’ with respect to your CSR strategy and maybe it’s time to revisit it and re-focus your efforts based on real human and environmental needs, that will make a tangible difference to your community for the long term.
CSR is not a ‘nice to have’ and is a genuine strategic imperative in our global economy. Those that ignore it, as an unnecessary expense, do so with a purely short-sighted view of their business environment. Poverty and pollution are two key economic drivers that will affect medium to long-term business success – ignoring them now, for short-term benefit is not only a dangerous it’s blindly arrogant (and ignorant).
Faced with a complex business world some leaders approach it as visionaries, with an all-encompassing view of their business environment, appreciating that their communities hold potential customers and employees for the future. Where a secure, safe and ‘happy’ community infuses its way into an organisations culture – just as much as a deprived, unsafe and unhappy neighbourhood will eventually start to have a negative influence on employees, talent retention and business performance.
Other leaders feel overwhelmed by stakeholder demands and prefer a blinkered approach to their surroundings – where they can ‘con’ themselves into believing that if they can’t actually see the suffering in their communities then it doesn’t exist and can feel content maximising whatever profit they can in the short-term confident that this will keep them safe and secure until they can save up enough to a point where they don’t really care what happens to their tenure – as they can retire to some out-of-the-way place and live happily ever-after avoiding the ‘chaos’ they have left behind.
All organisations should have some form of value adding CSR strategy that adds real long term, sustainable benefits, that can be measured and celebrated. It’s not just the CEO’s responsibility – it’s down to the board and all stakeholders not just to ask, but to demand a genuine cohesive CSR strategy that is results driven.
There are a lot of people suffering in ‘our’ world and since we aren’t able to choose how and where we are born – we can at least choose how we want to help and support the communities we live in. Many people who are suffering aren’t doing it out of choice and are desperate to find work – and we should be trying to help – as a healthy community, breeds a healthy economy.

No comments:

Post a Comment