Engaging an entire enterprise into running a truly successful CSR campaign is taken as an intimidating task in many organizations. Sometimes, getting your employees into the actual business becomes a litmus test for the organization itself, as asking employees to do something beyond their job descriptions raises many concerns both for the employer and its employees.
By addressing societal concerns found in any society via exclusive CSR campaigns, organizations not only develop a positive relationship with end consumers through their CSR activities, but also create a very positive corporate image all in all. But, being known as a socially responsible corporation for the rest of the society is easier than being recognized as such by your own staff, who definitely know your organization better than the general public. If the term, ‘corporate social responsibility,’ really matches with the internal organizational culture and values, then the company’s management will have greater possibility of getting support from its employees for the company’s CSR programme.
On the other hand, if an employee perceives the organizational image not more than a selfish business entity, with a strong sense or belief of being just a small cog in a profit-making, money-minting corporate machine, then any attempt to inculcate a true CSR spirit into these demotivated souls would appear quite futile and fruitless in the end.
Honestly, employees require reasonable time to digest the lessons of humanity and kindness if the organization or company itself comes out to be rather inhumane for the employees. Change cannot happen overnight, and it takes some time to tune up one’s behaviour to be morally and ethically responsible and in all interactions of life.
In this modern age, it’s not possible that one day you wake up early in the morning from a deep slumber and find yourself being a true humanitarian. Similarly for a for-profit organization, it requires a constant display of transparency and fairness on an organizational level with a proven record to maintain its own standards for all of its employees and support staff.
CSR is a continuous journey; it’s neither a fugitive fever nor reoccurring fits an organization or company has to suffer from time to time. If an organization is really a socially responsible entity, CSR ultimately becomes an essential part of its organizational values automatically. In contrast, if it suddenly starts acting like a saint and tries to behave like a socially responsible firm, it will definitely put the company staff in a fix. Therefore, it’s better to decide first whether you are going for a seasonal CSR drive or as a permanent value incorporated in organization’s vision or mission statement.
In today’s business world, many of the leading companies have included CSR in their publicly stated principal organizational values and including their vision and mission statements. Crafting effective and motivational vision and mission statements remains an over-discussed subject in the corporate world but still these two to three-liner verbal compositions, beyond all shadows of doubt, pave the way for a massive success for an organization.
This was the very vision statement that steered local Indians working with Tata to take India beyond being a factory for the world. Again this was mainly the power of an inspiring but challenging mission of Mitsubishi that helped it turn into the company well-known for changing the worldwide poor quality image of Japanese products’. I own Karachi is another example which attracted a number of youngsters to freely help the City District Government of Karachi, in performing their routine operations. If CSR becomes a mandatory part of organizational vision and mission, then this no more remains out of the ordinary, but greatly helps ordinary human resources to perform extraordinary jobs, transforming average-performing employees into peak performers.
Many organizations may not claim that they are socially irresponsible firms but, quite interestingly, a few such organizations dare to assert that they are, in fact, socially responsible corporations. But the point is to actually follow these statements rather than just acclaiming your association with a term which is also a “buzzword” in the business sector these days. Same is the case with your employees.
If they are officially not only told to be socially responsible as a whole, but also find their company getting seriously involved in working responsibly for the betterment of the people and the planet, employees acclimatise themselves into respective organizational cultures where they all are primarily supposed to do their given job while helping the community they live in.
In a nutshell, if a company comes forward to share their social responsibilities, it must be reflected in organization’s vision and mission statements.
Employees may also have negative perceptions about CSR initiatives being taken by their company. A company’s true motives behind a CSR activity are mostly misinterpreted by disgruntled employees, including those staff members with less educational qualifications and experience in working under this type of professional environment, where a profit-oriented company willingly dedicates its human and monetary resources to address social concerns of any society, region or community. Mostly, it is the upper cadre of employees which knows the real value and significance of running any CSR campaign. While at the same time, there are many employees in the same organization who regard these cause-related marketing campaigns as old methods meant to achieve specific gains for the organization itself.
If employees don’t trust the pro-social position of the company, it means there is, indubitably, a communication gap between the company management and its entire staff. Possibilities are always there that your internal audiences may perceive your CSR efforts differently than your external audiences.
To resolve this universal issue, companies must clearly communicate to the employees at all levels and explain the actual purpose of initiating these CSR programs, including the desired or expected results of running these programs to them. Thus, the first and the foremost task is to take internal audiences into full confidence before approaching the external audiences.
For desired internalization of CSR within the company, employees should be systematically encouraged to come forward and share their ideas for executing the CSR campaign effectively. When employees start owning the CSR strategies as an essential part of the overall business strategy, they may even volunteer themselves for better results.
Though some of the employees tend to be rather cynical and sceptical in nature, smart managers are well aware of how to get their employees deeply involved into each and every phase of CSR campaigns for the betterment of not only people and planet but also for the company’s profits. And this is done by motivating employees to share their ideas, suggestions and advices for having the most successful and dedicated CSR campaign towards a particular theme in a particular period of time.