CSR: employees want action over recognition

by 10 Nov 2007

CORPORATE SOCIAL Responsibility (CSR) strategies should not be used purely as a marketing tool, as more and more employees want to see action from companies rather than recognition.

Graduates are now asking questions at the interview stage about company culture, values and workplace giving programs, it was revealed at the Corporate Social Responsibility Summit 2007.

A number of speakers at the conference discussed the importance of an effective CSR strategy which engages employees and is not just used for external marketing.

“There’s a propensity within a lot of organisations to win awards and get recognition externally and then use that in the wrong sense of marketing,” said Alec Bashinsky, national partner of people & performance at Deloitte.

“When you have a passionate group of employees with values you would be foolish to turn around and say we’re going to brand this externally. We’re very careful around the perception of what our employers want us to do,” he said.

“Many organisations will start to have a trophy cabinet; however it’s one thing to have a strategy, it’s another to be actioning it.”

Various workplace-giving programs were discussed at the conference and, according to Duncan Power, CEO of Charity Aid Foundation, for everyone that is working there are about 10 that aren’t. He said that while there is an absolute necessity for corporate social responsibility from a macro point of view, it is equally important within the organisation.

“It’s not just about CSR and workplace giving. It’s about finding a program that your staff and your colleagues are passionate about.” he said.

Power gave the example of a mining company in Queensland who implemented a successful program both in terms of helping the community and staff engagement. Power asked one miner how he found the program, which involved helping out in a disadvantaged school after work.

The miner replied: “Mate, this is the best bloody thing this company has ever done for us.” According to Power it’s this type of enthusiasm and involvement companies should strive for with their CSR strategies.


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