The Role of Human Resource Management in Corporate Social Responsibility

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THE ROLE OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ISSUE BRIEF AND ROADMAP

REPORT FOR

PREPARED BY: Coro Strandberg Principal, Strandberg Consulting

MAY 2009

CSR and HR Management Issue Brief and Roadmap

ISSUE BRIEF AND ROADMAP

OBJECTIVE • To understand the foundational elements that need to be in place to foster a high performance CSR (corporate social responsibility) organization and develop a framework or roadmap for firms wishing to become a high performing CSR organization. AT A GLANCE • Human resource professionals have a key role to play to help a company achieve its CSR objectives. Employee involvement is a critical success factor for CSR performance. Human resource managers have the tools and the opportunity to leverage employee commitment to, and engagement in, the firm’s CSR strategy. • High performing CSR organizations foster a culture of CSR and fully integrate CSR throughout their operations, rewarding and incentivizing CSR decisions and initiatives. • Employees prefer to work for organizations aligned with their values; thus, incorporating CSR into the employee brand can enhance recruitment and retention, particularly in tight labour markets. • CSR can be applied to the HR toolkit, resulting in a roadmap or pathway for human resource practitioners to follow who wish to contribute to the achievement of their organization’s sustainability and business aspirations, thereby improving social and environmental conditions locally and globally.

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CSR and HR Management Issue Brief and Roadmap

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CSR and HR Management Issue Brief and Roadmap

INTRODUCTION Human resource managers are well positioned to play an instrumental role in helping their organization achieve its goals of becoming a socially and environmentally responsible firm – one which reduces its negative and enhances its positive impacts on society and the environment. Further, human resource (HR) professionals in organizations that perceive successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a key driver of their financial performance, can be influential in realizing on that objective. While there is considerable guidance to firms who wish to be the best place to work and for firms who seek to manage their employee relationships in a socially responsible way, there is a dearth of information for the HR manager who sees the importance of embedding their firm’s CSR values throughout the organization, who wish to assist the executive team in integrating CSR into the company’s DNA. And as high profile corporate failures such as Enron make all too clear, organizations that pay lip-service to CSR while neglecting to foster a CSR culture run the risk of damaging their corporate reputation if not their demise. Indeed, HR’s mandate to communicate and implement ideas, policies, and cultural and behavioural change in organizations makes it central to fulfilling an organization’s objectives to “integrate CSR in all that we do.” That said, it is important to understand that employee engagement is not simply the mandate of HR. Indeed people leadership rests with all departmental managers. HR can facilitate the development of processes and systems; however, employee engagement is ultimately a shared responsibility. The more the HR practitioner can understand their leverage with respect to CSR, the greater their ability to pass these insights along to their business partners towards the organization’s objectives in integrating CSR throughout their operations and business model. As human resources influences many of the key systems and business processes underpinning effective delivery, it is well positioned to foster a CSR ethic and achieve a high performance CSR culture. Human resource management can play a significant role so that CSR can become “the way we do things around here”. HR can be the key organizational partner to ensure that what the organization is...
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