Recent Research Topic In Economics And Survey Of Consumer Finances Corporate Social Responsibility and HR Implications

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Corporate Social Responsibility and HR Implications

Every day we see companies spending huge amounts of money for social responsibility. My first thought concerns why companies are “socially” and “ethically” active and what are the main issues involved in corporate social responsibility (CSR).

There are many references to corporate social responsibility, sometimes called corporate citizenship, in our workplaces, in the media, in government, in our communities. Companies can be socially responsible in different dimensions: environmentally, financially contributing to the community, relationships with progressive stakeholders such as commitment to consumer protection or demonstrating respect for human rights.

CSR is a commitment by a company to manage its role in society in a responsible and sustainable manner (Akgeyik, 2005).

Several incidents in recent years, such as the highly publicized financial scandals of Enron and WorldCom, have exposed sweatshop labor by retail clothing and sports shoe manufacturers and the “under the table” contracts received by companies. Consequently, reputation, brand, integrity and trust are increasingly considered important measures of corporate social responsibility.

The main CSR issues that companies are taking seriously relate to reputation and brand enhancement, accountability and transparency, risk management (managing investor confidence is another factor supporting the business case for CSR) and the “talent war” based on labor shortages. Over the next 10 to 25 years, companies will attract, develop, motivate, and retain special efforts. Additionally, the talent war is evidenced by the advent of the “Best Places to Work” awards. Therefore, a strong argument for CSR is talent management in both the short and long term

Accordingly, CSR influences a company’s competitive advantage today through two key value drivers: 1) company reputation and brand; and 2) human capital (Paul Lee, 2008) HR leaders have begun to assume leadership roles to address both areas.

For example, would the Enron and WorldCom cases have been stopped if managers caught violating legal duties and engaging in corrupt behavior were identified and relegated to senior managers?

HR has an important role in companies to achieve CSR standards. HR leaders can influence three primary levels of CSR ethics, employment practices, and community engagement—those directly or indirectly related to employees, customers, and the local community.

What kind of employment practices can be promoted to make companies more CSR? Human resource management practices promote personal and professional employee development, diversity and empowerment at all levels. Next are HR practices: Consider employees as valued partners, with the right to fair labor practices, competitive wages and benefits and a safe, harassment-free, family-friendly work environment.

What can HR leaders do to track the HR scorecard on CSR? According to recent studies (Fenwick, 2008 and Lockwood, 2004) some ideas used as a checklist

• Create a strong organizational culture around core company values.

• Scan the environment to identify potential threats (eg, competition for talent within the organization’s industry sector).

• Build the personal and professional capacity of the workforce (eg, expand intellectual capital within the organization and in collaboration with other organizations).

• Include ethical concerns in employee performance measures.

• Support participatory decision-making processes.

• Ensure the highest standards in workplace health and safety.

• Encourage active involvement in community activities.

Reference:

– Akgeyik, T. (2005) Human Resource Management Dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility in Turkey: A Survey. Journal of the Academy of Business and Economics, January, 2005.

– Fenwick, Tara and Birema, Laura (2008), “Corporate Social Responsibility: Issues for Human Resource Development Professionals”. International Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 12, Issue 1, p. 24-35, March 2008.

– Lockwood, NR (2004). Corporate Social Responsibility: The Leadership Role of Human Resources. SHRM, Nov. received from [http://www.shrm.org/Research/quarterly/1204RQuart.asp#summary].

– Paul Lee, m. (2008). A Review of Theories of Corporate Social Responsibility: Its Evolutionary Path and Way Forward. International Journal of Management Review, 10(1), 53-73.

– Trudel, R., & Cotte, J. (2008 5). What is ethical payment? Wall Street Journal Online, Page R1.

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