Responsible outlook is key to productivity

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies are the key to delivering
higher productivity and business performance and the HR function must be at the
centre of delivering it.

A new report shows that strong CSR policies can make organisations perform up
to 40 per cent better than their competitors.

The study from The Work Foundation and CSR consultancy the Virtuous Circle
also proves that HR strategy can have a big impact on the bottom line.

Achieving High Performance: CSR at the Heart of Business found that
employees made a greater contribution towards their organisation if they felt
it was acting responsibly as an employer, and this in turn influenced their
decision to remain in their post.

It also found 20 per cent of employees found organisations with a positive,
socially responsible image more attractive.

The report said there was a strong connection between increased sales volume
and the perceived quality of line management, corporate culture, employee
commitment and customer retention.

British Telecom found that one call centre adviser with poor people
management skills could reduce profits by up to £300,000.

Simon Henderson, head of corporate responsibility at business services and
energy group Centrica, which employs 40,000 people, said staff were ambassadors
for the company.

"HR must deliver [CSR measures], so it must accept, understand and own
them," he said. "If we don’t get it right, we won’t bring our
employees with us."

Gareth Llewellyn, group corporate responsibility director at National Grid
Transco, recently voted the best company in Britain for CSR by Business in the
Community, agreed that HR must be involved at the very heart of changes.

Will Hutton, chief executive of The Work Foundation, warned that there was
still a "veritable army" of mediocre businesses in the UK that
"simply don’t get CSR".

By Michael Millar

Top 100 CSR practitioners: www.personneltoday.com/goto/23036

Case study: www.personneltoday.com/goto/23051

Comment: www.personneltoday.com/goto/22984

The report recommends a four-pronged approach to CSR

1 
Baseline analysis: know where your organisation stands with its current
CSR policies

2  Strategic
positioning: decide where, in comparison with the baseline analysis, the
organisation should be positioned

3  Engagement:
understand and engage with your stakeholders

4  Action: implement,
integrate and evaluate best practice CSR activities in line with business
strategy

Source: The Work Foundation

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